Home » General » Govt Official Denies Allocating Mutodi Land

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry head of State land management Mr Andrew Shawatu yesterday denied allocating land to Energy Mutodi and his National Housing Delivery Trust.This emerged at the start of the trial of National Housing Delivery Trust founder Mutodi and trustee Boniface Chikono, who are accused of fleecing home-seekers of US$588 000.

National Housing Delivery Trust is represented by Mutodi who is also charged in his personal capacity and jointly charged with Chikono.

Mutodi and Chikono pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza called Mr Shawatu as the first State witness and told the court that his duties included receiving land allocation applications.

“We verify ownership of the land and if it is State land we forward the application to the department of physical planning. We then write an application memorandum to either the minister or the permanent secretary for approval.

“If approved, we then request a plan for approval before entering into a memorandum of agreement,” he said.

Mr Shawatu said State land management had been decentralised to local authorities, who aised the ministry on certain issues.

“No allocation of land had been done to Mutodi and his housing trust at Crowhill in Borrowdale in Harare, Chizhanje in Mabvuku, Tynwald in Harare, Marimba in Harare, Gimboki in Mutare, Riverside in Masvingo, Caledonia in Harare, Amsterdam in Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo,” he said.

During cross-examination Mutodi’s lawyer, Mr Charles Chinyama, asked if Mr Shawatu was able to testify on privately-owned land.

He said he could not do this, and neither could he in regards to council-owned land.

However, the trial stalled when the defence tried to present a letter purportedly from Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo.

Mr Reza opposed this saying he had not been furnished with the document prior trial.

Harare magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya postponed the trial to June 3. Mutodi and Chikono deny misrepresenting to home-seekers, maintaining that the land was available and some members had already benefited.

The court has heard that the objective of the trust was to acquire land in urban areas and towns, and service it for residential purposes.

Mutodi and Chikono, it was said, were signatories of the trust’s bank account, and they applied for a deduction code with Salary Service Bureau, which they got (number 47453).

Civil servants and other people were invited to join the trust.

Sometime in 2007, the trust made Mutodi the sole signatory of all transactions, it is alleged.

Civil servants paid contributions through the SSB while other people paid in cash and some were given allocation agreements, it is alleged.

An amount of US$588 787 was paid into the account and the accused converted the money to their personal use, the State alleges.

Alleged non-delivery led to police reports and the pair were arrested while US$3 585 was recovered from a total prejudice of US$588 787.

Source : The Herald