The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested 10 suspected land barons from Ruwa and two senior officials from Harare City Council for parcelling out land to unsuspecting and desperate homeseekers. .
Two senior officials from Harare city council were alleged to have connived with the then Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and suspended mayor Jacob Mafume who was then Human Resources Committee chair, to illegally sell four commercial stands.
They are Emmanual Mutambirwa (49) who is acting city valuation and estates manager and Daniel Usingarawe from the same department. They are expected to appear in court today.
The 10 others are executive members of Samuel Parirenyatwa Housing Cooperative in Ruwa and Magariro Housing Cooperative in Msasa Park led by Peter Mudavanhu and Spencer Magariro .
They are alleged to have parcelled out State land and pocketed the money.
From Samuel Parirenyatwa Housing Cooperative, Zacc arrested eight suspects who include David Sanyamandwe, Beauty Manase, Yohani Yohani, Mukai Raymond, Shau Mavhinga, Everisto Cundangarinwa, Biggie Hoshola and Ali Hoshola.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure last night confirmed the arrest of the 12 saying the anti-graft body would not leave any stone unturned in its quest to fight corruption.
He said they had launched full investigations across the country as it took its fight to land barons.
“We are determined to restore sanity in the sale of land. Pursuant to President Mnangagwa’s call for zero tolerance to corruption, we will leave no stone unturned,” said Comm Makamure.
Comm Makamure said Mutambirwa, as custodian of council land, connived with former mayor Gomba in September 2018, and caused the creation of commercial stands for sale to four beneficiaries near Old Hararians Sports Club, corner Drummond Chaplin Street and Bishop Gaul Avenue.
Gomba and Mafume are currently on remand on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.
Comm Makamure said Mutambirwa is alleged to have instructed the city of Harare’s planning division to draft a plan sub-dividing the said piece of land at Old Hararians Sports Club creating five stands.
“The stands were for a proposed creche, medical centre, market place, active recreational space and fuel station,” said Comm Makamure.
After a no objection, Samuel Nyabeze, head of the City of Harare’s planning division, was under pressure through phone calls and verbal communication from Gomba and Mafume to expedite the sub-division plan approval.
It is alleged that Nyabeze succumbed to the pressure despite the required change of reservation process, and approved the sale.
Mutambirwa and Usingarawe, together with Gomba and Mafume, disregarded special conditions and sold the commercial stands to four companies owned by the same family at a total cost of Z$5,2 million.
“The accused persons acted unlawfully by selling four commercial stands on subdivision plan without change of reservation process as guided by section 49(3) of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act,” said Comm Makamure
Regarding the eight accused persons from Samuel Parirenyatwa Housing Cooperative, Comm Makamure said investigations had shown that working in connivance with site planners, they fraudulently sub-divided stands on undesignated areas meant for a secondary school and created 90 residential stands and another stand covering four hactares meant for two primary schools where they created 80 residential stands
They are further accused of illegally sub-dividing wetlands and open spaces measuring 10 hectares where they created 120 stands and reserved buffers with another piece measuring two hectares creating 30 stands thereby creating 340 stands in total.
It was alleged that acting upon the misrepresentation, 340 members of the public bought the stands which they paid for to Samuel Parirenyatwa Housing Cooperative.
Several home seekers went on to construct residential houses on the undesignated areas.
As a result of that misrepresentation, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works was prejudiced of US$1 million.
Regarding two executives from Magariro Housing Cooperative, it is alleged that the two accused persons duped several home seekers through selling them residential stands which were already allocated to other beneficiaries.