Senior Court Reporter
HARARE City Council district officer Netsai Kativhu last week appeared in court for allegedly approving and recommending layout plans and granting permits to build, outside her mandate.
Kativhu, who was stationed at Borrowdale council offices, appeared before regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje charged with criminal abuse of office over approvals made when she was at the Sunningdale office.
She was not asked to plead to the charges.
Kativhu challenged her placement on remand saying she never approved any plan as she was only restricted to receiving and transmitting them to Cleveland House where the approval was done.
Through her lawyer, a Ms Gororo, she said that the events which led to her arrest occurred in 2018 at Sunningdale district offices where the allocations of stands were done.
“The alleged events took place before decentralisation and it is inconceivable that the accused person can be accused of any wrong doing when in actual fact the documentation was processed at Sunningdale offices. It is settled in this jurisdiction that placement on remand is like arrest without a warrant,” she said through her lawyer.
Mr Mambanje is expected to make a ruling today.
“Processing agreements of sale include checking documents submitted to her.
“All she did was to accept documents brought to her. She is not the one who approves plans and grants permit to build.
“To claim that she processes agreement of sale and recommends is to accept that she runs the City of Harare single-handedly.
“The accused has no connection with owners of the stands and is not the only officer in the City of Harare with the responsibility of ensuring that stands are allocated to beneficiaries. All Harare stands were done at Sunningdale district offices and went to her for onward transmission to Cleveland House. It wasn’t her duty to approve,” said Ms Gororo.
Mrs Netsai Mushayabasa, appearing for the State, told the court that there are documents that proved that Kativhu committed the alleged offence. She also told the court that Kativhu signed plans and recommended Maud Jena could build a house on her stand.
“There is reasonable suspicion which warrants her placement on remand. There are documents which show that she appended a signature as district officer. It was her duty to recommend plans for approval and process agreements of sale. It will be misleading to say she was restricted to clerical work. She was supposed to do due diligence before giving them to the director of works. She recommended a stand which she had not taken sight of.
“There is approval of permit document for development which she signed on September 4, 2018 for Maud Jena,” she said.