The High Court has nullified a multi-million-dollar transaction in which the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) purchased 526 hectares of land in Chegutu from businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.
The contentious 526-hectare piece of land at Hintonville Extension was illegally sold to Chiyangwa’s company in 2001 for $10.5 million.
Two years later, the company sold it to NSSA before concluding its initial transaction with Chegutu Municipality in violation of laid down procedures.
Chegutu Municipality maintained that there was no proof either supporting Gabroc’s purchase of the land or NSSA’s subsequent right to ownership, therefore, the alleged sale was null and void because of the laid down procedures.
Council argued that the procedure was not followed when Chiyangwa’s company purchased the land, hence there was no binding sale agreement.
The case spilt into the High Court with Gabroc seeking to compel the council to approve the sale. Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that the said sale of the land was a nullity hence the court could not sanitise it. Said justice Hungwe:
_Clearly for this court to grant the relief sought, would be to condone an illegality. The transaction between first applicant (Gabroc Investments) and the respondents (Chegutu Municipality and the town clerk) contravenes the clear provisions in the Urban Councils Act._
_The rationale behind Section 152 of the Act is to promote transparency in the administration of public assets. The agreement executed by the parties in 2001 did not comply with this public policy thrust as set out in the Act._
_The courts cannot sanitise a transaction that is abjectly illegal._
The judge expressed shock at how NSSA released public funds to buy the same land from Gabroc without due diligence adding “simple and cost-effective due diligence could have saved it a fortune.”
The judge nullified the transaction and threw out the application by Grabroc and NSSA with costs.
A report released by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri last month raised a red flag after the land was not part of NSSA’s assets despite millions of dollars having been paid to Chiyangwa’s Gabroc Investments.
This would suggest that US$3.5 million of pensioners’ money went down the drain.