TWO Mines and Mining Development ministry workers have appeared at the Marondera Magistrates Court facing a charge of criminal abuse of office after they allegedly approved issuance of granite mining certificates to a Chinese company in Uzumba and Mutoko.

Tizah Mandawa and Zvinodaishe Mubariri, who are employed as survey and geological technicians, respectively, at the Mashonaland East ministry provincial offices in Marondera were on Friday arraigned before the courts after their alleged corrupt activities were unearthed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

They are accused of contravening section 31 of the Mines and Minerals Act, which prohibits people from pegging or prospecting in villages without written consent of the occupiers or that of the local authority.

The duties of the accused persons at the ministry were to conduct verification processes, which include checking on whether the ground being applied for by a particular company is open to pegging and prospecting.

Once that process is done, a report is sent to the provincial mining director Tendai Kashiri to issue registration certificates.

Allegations were that the pair deceived Kashiri in a May 2020 report and acting upon the misrepresentation, he issued certificates ME1197BM, ME1198BM, ME1199BM, ME1200BM and ME1201BN in ward 7, Mutoko Rural District Council to New Obsidian Granite Industries Company following its April 2020 application to the ministry.

They also wrote to Kashiri in January 2021 stating that they had done verification and recommended the issuance of certificates to Ndemera Mining Syndicate Company following its September 2020 application to mine on a 300-hectare area in ward 14, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe RDC.

Acting upon the misrepresentation, Kashiri issued certificates ME402 and ME403 to Heijin Mining Company on transfer.

Villagers reacted angrily leading to the cancellation of the licence.

The accused also allegedly submitted false reports to Kashiri in 2019 and recommended the issuance of certificates ME943BM, ME944BN and ME946BM to the Zimbabwe International Quarries to mine in Mutawatawa, UMP RDC.

The pair was remanded on $20 000 bail and will appear again in court on March 3.

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