Magistrate blasts anti-corruption prosecutors

A Harare Magistrate was not happy and in no mood to entertain prosecutors dealing with corruption matters due to their conduct, as they seem to be too reluctant to proceed with matters they would have been assigned.

This came on Monday after prosecutor Michael Chakandida who was standing in on behalf of a colleague in a matter in which the former general manager for NSSA Elizabeth Chitiga stands accused of abuse of office applied for a further postponement as the prosecutor dealing with the case was absent.

Magistrate Nyasha Vitorini was infuriated by how the court was being taken for a ride and how State resources were being wasted.

“There is a way of dealing with corruption, but on the ground you’re doing nothing, Go and discuss with whoever is in charge of allocating prosecutors that I am not amused with how you’re dealing with these cases”,

“I am a very busy man and for me to be called here for mere postponments does not make sense, l do not want to waste government resources for nothing, so be serious”, said Magistrate Vitorini

The matter is set to continue on July 18.

Chitiga who  was represented by top lawyer Jonathan Samkange is being charged with criminal abuse of office.

Allegations are that NSSA and National Building Society (NBS) convened a strategic meeting in which the two organizations resolved NBS was supposed to build 10000 low-income housing developments countrywide.

At that time, Chitiga was NSSA general manager whose duties included overall management of business activities and reporting to the board.

In an endeavor to achieve the target, NSSA conducted roadshows country wide headed by head of housing projects Engineer Silas Mukono with a view to identify willing partners for engagement.

The team identified 14 possible projects out of which they selected five projects to kick-start the programme namely Victoria range Masvingo, Denver Township Bulawayo, Mkobe in Gweru, Dulibadzimu in Beitbridge and Emagwini Phase 4 in Bulawayo.

On July 20 last year, NBS treasurer forwarded the projects to Latifa Kassim forwarded the five projects to the Chief Strategic investments officer Chakanyuka Nziradzemhuka for funding by NSSA at a total cost of $80- 991 200.

Chitiga’s accomplice who is already undergoing trial over the same matter James Tirivavi Chiuta, responded to Latifa Kassim by emailing his own five projects with a total cost of $78 million.

Chiuta’s justification of his own projects was that the NBS projects had insufficient information for approval with the NSSA board so he handed over the projects to NBS before the NSSA board approval.

In an effort to regularise the action, Chiuta and Chitiga connived to misrepresent to the board that NBS required funding for the five projects.

The Board acting on the misrepresentation approved the funding of $78 million on the understanding that all due processes had been done.