By Desmond Chingarande FORMER Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya was yesterday convicted for criminal abuse of office after he unlawfully diverted over 1 700 stands between 2011 and 2017 which Gokwe Town Council had allocated to the Local Government ministry. He later sold some of the stands to homeseekers at Gokwe Town Council and pocketed the proceeds.Machaya was convicted together with accomplice Chaisayanyerwa Chibururu when they appeared before magistrate Charity Maposa.The duo will be sentenced today. The State successfully proved a prima facie case against Machaya and Chibururu, leading to their convictions. Machaya allocated 17 799 stands to land developers, who in turn, gave him 1 791 commonage stands, of which he sold 1 185 for personal gain. The duo had denied the charges, but the State submitted that Machaya did not have authority to allocate State land to the developers as that was the sole responsibility of the Local Government minister. After allocating the stands, Machaya received 1 791 commonage stands from the land developers and entities, which constituted 18% of the total stands on the allocated State land. He then sold 1 185 of the stands, which was also inconsistent with his duties.