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Bikita CEO seeks removal from remand

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Bikita CEO seeks removal from remand


Brilliant Mukaro

MASVINGO-Bikita Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Chibhi has said a charge preferred against him by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is defective when he applied to be removed from remand on Friday.
Bikita Magistrate Takawira Mugabe will give judgment on April 28, 2023.
His lawyer Philip Shumba of Mutendi, Mudisi, and Shumba Legal Practitioners argued that the abuse of office charge is defective as it does not disclose the crime in the same way that a civil summon must disclose a cause of action.
Shumba also argued that a charge must set out the crime, not the evidence necessary to prove the crime and as a rule, a person cannot be found guilty of a crime with which he has not been charged.
Chibhi was initially being charged with breaching the Public Finance Management Act after he borrowed US$ 191 000 from African Century Limited on behalf of Bikita RDC to buy six personal Toyota GD6 vehicles for managers without Government’s approval.
The charge was premised on the Public Finance Management Act as espoused in Section 124(2) (d) of the Rural District Councils Act (Chapter 29:13) which restricts a council from borrowing money unless the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has granted the authority permission to borrow the money.
Section 65 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) restricts public entities from borrowing money or issuing a guarantee, indemnity or security, or entering into any other transaction that binds or may bind that entity.
Prosecutors Richard Nyamuwomba and Kudakwashe Chirongoma then changed the charge to abuse of office.
Chibhi also challenged the shift of charges and argued that ZACC officers are delaying finishing investigations for the trial to begin.
ZACC investigating officers said all other investigations are complete except for recording a statement from the director responsible for Rural District Councils in the Ministry of Local Government.
Chibhi was arrested by ZACC on March 01, 2023. The six managers who benefited from the scheme were also arrested on Friday last week and they spend the night in cells.
Magistrate Mugabe however, denied ZACC’s application to put the six managers on remand after Shumba successfully argued that the managers are mere beneficiaries of a council scheme and that if ZACC has any case against them it shall continue by way of summons.

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