By Shingirai Vambe
Rusape – Mutare City Town Clerk, who has become a regular visitor at Rusape Magistrate Court was today acquitted, for five counts of criminal abuse of office.
Joshua Maligwa who was previously employed at Rusape Town Council (RTC) was arrested and acquitted for the second time after he was initially arrested together with former Rusape Housing Director, Laurence Mushayabasa on the same charge.
After being discharged and acquitted, Maligwa was called to appear alone in the dock on five counts of criminal abuse of office.
Magistrate Vusomuzi Gapara, handed down the ruling today at Rusape Magistrates Court on the matter which was before the courts since 2018 and District Prosecutor, Event Dhliwayo, was representing the State.
Gapara in his ruling cited bad blood between Maligwa and his predecessor, suspended Rusape Town Secretary, Solomon Gabaza.
“On the second count, the state could not provide enough evidence as alleged that Mabvu consultancy was awarded a tender without due process and what the witness, Togarepi Nerwande submitted before this court was clearly hearsay”
Maligwa was facing criminal abuse of office for requesting and paying of his tuition fees at Africa University which the court said there is evidence that the fees were paid and his graduation certificate was brought before this Honourable Court as evidence.
“The program which Nerwande also testified against the accused person, the court saw it was not for favouring or disfavouring any individual but for the betterment of all the employees at RTC, which the witness, Nerwande also benefited from” Gapara ruled.
He added that the payment of tuition fees was approved and done by former finance director, Solomon Gabaza and if he had any reservations he was supposed to object to it on the onset before Maligwa resigned from RTC.
Count three, four and five, the Magistrate said the state could not provide evidence as alleged in the State papers.
Maligwa was said to have stolen a laptop, Isuzu double cab and cash ten thousand dollars which the court highlighted that the accused person produced evidence and council resolutions testifying his innocence. him sitting in the committee which was discussing his terminal benefits was said not to be a criminal offence, since he was supposed to answer to some questions as the accounting officer.
On one of the counts, Maligwa was said to have used his office to request and receive a reviewed amount of money for their travel expenses to South Africa with former Council Chairperson Amon Chawasarira.
Gapara said there was selective application of the law by arresting Maligwa alone when the offence was committed by the accused person together with Chawasarira, however Gapara upheld the submissions by the accused person of a council resolution which Gabaza said it was ambiguous.
After handing down the ruling, Gapara made some remarks to the effect that there was bad blood between the accused person and suspended town secretary, and asked why Gabaza had to wait for Maligwa to first leave RTC before accusing him of criminal abuse of office
Gapara also presided over another matter where Gabaza championed the arrest and prosecution of Mushayabasa and Karl Muzandaka on another matter of criminal abuse of office, and they were both acquitted as the state could not provide evidence as alleged.
Victor Chinzamba of Mugadza and Chinzamba legal practitioners and Taurai Khupe of Khupe Law Chamber were representing Maligwa. Chinzamba told Post On Sunday that justice was served.
Meanwhile, RTC has reported Rusape Police officer Commanding Godwill Chinyan’anya on his conduct after failing to arrest hired thugs who disrupted a full council meeting at Mugodo lodge, Post On Sunday is reliably informed that officers from the Police Headquarters (PGHQ) have already started their investigation on the matter while hearing on the suspended Rusape Town Secretary continues in Mutare