JUST IN: Bad news for former First Lady Grace Mugabe, her relatives and allies

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Former First Lady Grace Mugabe

Former First Lady Grace Mugabe and some of her relatives and allies are being stripped of 14 stands worth almost US$12,6 million in one of the most upmarket developments in Borrowdale, Harare, on the grounds that they acquired the land for next to nothing by abusing their connections with the then Government.

The 14 stands are in the plush suburb of Harare, Carrick Creagh due east of Borrowdale Brooke and between them cover 167 997 square metres, or almost 17 hectares, and at the quoted commercial selling price of US$75 a square metre they are worth US$12 599 775.

Mrs Mugabe owned four adjacent stands covering 7,36ha through a pair of front companies Montshow Private Limited and Navline Investments Private Limited in which her children are now directors according to company records. This land, at the US$75 a square metre selling price, should have cost US$5 525 550, but in practice it cost her almost nothing.

She and the other 10 land owners, four using companies, were able to get into the housing scheme without putting up the required purchase price because it is a Public Private Partnership joint venture between the Government and a private developer on State land.

They operated through a former minister who himself has corruption-related legal problems arising from the way he became involved in land deals and stand allocations. The ex-minister also included at least his alleged girlfriend in the Carrick Creagh scheme.

It is understood that Mrs Mugabe first used members of the State House staff in the original allocation of stands, and then carried out her intention of acquiring the formal ownership in the name of her companies.

But now Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo wants the corruptly-acquired land back and the title deeds cancelled. He announced his intention, and gave the required notice, in the Government Gazette on Friday last week and is placing the weekly press advertisement for the next three weeks, seeking objections.

Minister Moyo is able to do this under section 18(1)(b) of the Deeds Registries Act, which allows the minister to direct the cancellation of the deed for any land “in respect of which the State has the right to claim transfer”. The right being invoked is that the land in question was not properly paid for, being given away for what amounted to free.

The Act lays down the procedure that must be followed, and in particular the calling for objections and the need to study these objections before the cancellations can take place.

The minister is also relying on section 308(3) of the Constitution which requires him to take positive action in these circumstances. The section reads: “It is the duty of every person who has custody or control of public property to safeguard the property and ensure that it is not lost, destroyed, damaged, misapplied or misused.”

Mrs Mugabe’s four stands include the largest, third largest, fourth largest and sixth largest of the 14 stands. Two stands were registered in the name of Montshow Investments (Private) Limited: stand 306 of 18 034 square metres, and stand 307 of 25 133 square metres. The other two were registered in the name of Navline Investments (Private) Limited: stand 308 of 13 733 square metres and stand 309 of 16 744 square metres.

This block of four stands, covering 73 674 square metres should have cost US$5 525 550. Mrs Mugabe paid a token sum, basically getting the large block for free.

The other 10 stands were transferred as follows: stand 96 of 9 592 square metres to Timothy Mubhawu; stand 172 of 4 000 square metres to Lazarus Dagwa Kambarami Dokora; stand 195 of 3 971 square metres to Comverol Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd; stand 196 of 4 039 square metres to Cavord Trading (Pvt) Ltd; stand 269 of 13 857 square metres to Gloryboost Investments (Pvt) Ltd; stand 300 of 12 384 square metres to Taruvinga Hamura; stand 91 of 8 003 square metres to Olivia Farai Mashonganyika; stand 228 of 12 086 square metres to Junior Shuvayi Gumbochuma; stand 288 of 19 310 square metres to Olivia Tafadzwa Chinouya, and stand 99 of 7 081 square metres to Penking Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

Asked for comment, the developer’s lawyer Mr Munyaradzi Bwanya referred all questions to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

— Herald


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