The Special Investigations Committee’s Report On the City of Harare’s land sales, leases and exchanges from the Period October 2004 to December 2009 makes numerous allegations against then Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. Chombo is currently in remand prison and is facing charges of abuse of office. Chombo was one of the ministers who was arrested by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in Operation Restore Legacy after the military said that it was targetting criminals around former President Robert Mugabe. Former councillor Dumba said that he submitted the report and documentary evidence allegedly highlighting Chombo’s corruption and this resulted in Chombo suspending and eventually firing him from the council.
Part of the Special Investigations Committee’s Report Reads:
Multiple Property Ownership by the Minister of Local Government Honourable I.M.C. Chombo (MP)
Contrary to Council policy that an individual must not get more than one residential property from the Council, the Minister acquired vast tracts of land within Greater Harare and registered them in companies associated with him. It remains disturbing to note that the Minister (Dr Chombo) would identify pieces of land in the City, influence Council Officials to apply to him (Chombo) for Change of land use, and then sit over the same applications and approve the changes. He would then write to Council officials asking to buy the same stands and obviously get them. Land reserved for recreational activities would end up having Title Deeds in his company’s name.
A case in point is Stand 61 Hellensvale Harare, measuring almost 20 hectares. According to the Advice of Payment the Minister paid $2 300 for this stand.
…The investigations have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the Minister abused his powers in many instances by verbally issuing instructions on what council should do or not do concerning council properties. A case in point is his instruction to have the Council’s Highlands house sold to Ms Sekesai Makwavarara while she (Ms Makwavarara) was staying in a Borrowdale house rented for her by Council.
…The Investigating Committee noted with concern that the Minister would “identify” land, and then the council would apply to him for change of land use
of the stand applied for, he, in turn, would approve the same and advise Council before buying the property. (See appendix Z)
…City of Harare lost vast tracts of land through irregular sales some of which were done by offices not authorised to carry out such responsibilities. The greater percentage of land lost was during the period Dr Gono would prefer to call “the money burning period”. The Investigating Committee established that, most illegal land sales were done by the Commissions appointed by Hon. Minister I.M.C Chombo(MP especially the one led by Michael Mahachi. The committee also noted that during the tenure of these Commissions, Dr I. M.C. Chombo would mastermind the expulsion of Senior Council Officers whom he deemed obstacles. The Minister would then second Technocrats from his Ministry to fill these influential senior positions in Council
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