BY MOSES MATENGA
ACTING Harare town clerk Mabhena Moyo has said the arrest of several council executives will affect its operations and quality of projects, as well as blur the city’s good memories of the past.
Moyo was responding to a court application by MDC Alliance Member of Parliament Norman Markham, who is questioning the deed of settlement entered into between the City of Harare and Augur Investments owned by Russian investor Ken Sharpe.
“It is public knowledge that in the past couple of months, several senior council officials, including the town clerk engineer Hosiah Chisango, human capital director Cainos Chingombe, acting finance director Stanley Ndemera, acting chamber secretary Charles Usaihwevhu Kandemiri, director of housing Admore Nhekairo, city architect Samuel Nyabezi, estates and valuation manager Emmanuel Mutambirwa, among others, have all been arrested on allegations of criminal abuse of office, which matters are now pending in court,” Moyo said.
The arrested bigwigs were fingered in corruption cases, including alleged land theft and criminal abuse of office.
“As a result of these happenings, big holes have been left in the organisation which other council officials are grappling to fill. This has also meant, therefore, that there is also an information vacuum as most of the officials with the requisite institutional memory are not available to fill some gaps in information,” he added.
In his response to allegations raised by Markham, Moyo said the applicants had no locus standi to challenge the deed of settlement entered into between Augur Investments and the City of Harare.
“The fact that they are Zimbabweans who live in Harare does not bestow on them any legal interest in a private partnership matter between two contracting parties,” he said.
Moyo said City of Harare and Augur Investments were both happy with the settlement that ended years of protracted legal battles.
“The payments made in money or with land suggest that the contracting parties were happy with how each party had performed in terms of the contract,” he said, adding that then mayor Herbert Gomba and Chisango were authorised at a full council meeting to sign the land deal with Augur Investments.
“A special council meeting was held on May 16, 2019, which gave them (Gomba and Chisango) such authority,” he said.
Moyo said the project had a national status and was approved by the government, hence claims of fraud were misplaced.