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    Sunday, 14 July 2019

    Machaya throws in the towel

     Former Minister of State for Midlands, Jaison Machaya.

    NKULUMANI MLAMBO

    HARARE – Former Minister of State for Midlands, Jaison Machaya has pleaded guilty to all allegations being made against him at the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the sale of Urban State Land hearings in a bid to be excused from testifying.
    His lawyer, Alec Muchadema said Machaya was not comfortable to testify before the Commission because he is facing similar criminal cases at the magistrates’ courts and he feared that these will be compromised by the hearings.
    Machaya would rather accept allegations levelled against him by land developers and beneficiaries in the Midlands Province than testify as the State may use the evidence against him.
    Muchadehama made the application to get Machaya excused from the hearings  at the Harare Club on Friday last week and the Justice Uchena chaired Commission granted the application.
    “My Lord, my client is not comfortable to appear before the Commission, he wants to be excused from testifying because he is appearing in the magistrates courts facing the same charges that the Commission is ceased with; ie criminal abuse of duty involving over 1 000 stands in Gokwe.
    “He is currently under trial by the provincial magistrate Charity Maposa on the same charges in the Midlands Province. He stands to suffer irreparable damage if he discloses certain information which has a bearing on his cases before the courts. He would have disclosed his defence to the State. This may arm the State to counter his defence.
    “He is in tight dilemma, he does not know the people in the gallery. The Press here may also take it up and put him on public trial. I pray that he be excused from testifying,” said Muchadehama.
    On granting the application, Justice Uchena said that the Commission  was not trying anyone but was gathering evidence that will be submitted to the President.
    The six-member Commission is investigating the illegal sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005.
    Some of the allegations already made against Machaya were that he sanctioned the opening and operation of a secret account from which he and six other Government officials benefitted.
    He was also accused of allocating urban land to developers when the duty to do so lied with another Ministry. Former Gweru district administrator, Shepherd Marweyi accused  Machaya of allocating land in Vungu Rural District to land developers.



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