EMBATTLED EX MINISTER FALLS CRITICALLY ILL WHILST IN PRISON
Former Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Senator for Gokwe, Mr Jason Machaya, was yesterday admitted at Gweru Provincial Hospital after he was taken ill while in detention at WhaWha Prison.
Machaya, who has been in remand prison since Christmas Eve, is being accused of abuse of office during his tenure as the provincial minister.
He was recently transferred from Gokwe Prison to WhaWha Maximum Prison and was due to assist police with further investigations over alleged corruption involving residential stands in Gokwe and Zvishavane.
A relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, yesterday said the former minister was rushed to Gweru Provincial Hospital after he suddenly fell ill while in remand prison.
The relative, who referred further questions to Machaya’s lawyer, Mr Hillary Garikayi of Garikayi and Company, said Machaya was critically ill and was in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Remember, he was involved in that horrific accident and was still healing,” said the relative.
“He also lost his son in a car accident recently and he was arrested when he was still mourning.
“I think this is what has affected him and we are holding our breath hoping for the better.”
Mr Garikayi confirmed that Machaya was in hospital, but could not release more details.
“Yes, my client has been taken ill and had to be taken to the hospital for a medical check-up,” he said. “You are the journalist, you can go to the hospital and write your story without necessarily bothering me.”
When our Midlands Bureau visited the hospital yesterday, armed prison officers were seen milling around the complex.
Machaya was reportedly still in the ICU.
Gweru Provincial Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze said he was out of the country.
He referred questions to Dr Tendayi Chandayengerwa, who declined to comment.
Machaya was arrested a few days before Christmas over allegations of abuse of office.
He appeared before a Gokwe magistrate, who denied him bail and since then, has been behind bars.
The State’s case against him is that during the period between 2011 and 2017, he used his official powers to acquire 1 000 residential stands in Mapfungautsi, which is under Gokwe Town Council.
This, according to the State, is contrary to Government policy, which allows the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to acquire just 10 percent of the total stands as per requirement of the Commonage Law.
As a result, Gokwe Town Council lost revenue in respect of 700 stands.
It is the State’s case that Machaya further went on to impose a land developer known as Striations World Marketing Property Developers to service and sell the stands without following proper tender procedures.