Daggers out for Surveyor General 

Source: Daggers out for Surveyor General – The Zimbabwe Independent

DAGGERS are out for the country’s surveyor general Edwin Guvaza, following a damning report made at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on allegations of corruption.

A report dated March 10, 2022 was filed at the anti-graft body by land surveyor Rhodwick Chigumete through his lawyers Muhonde Attorneys, raising allegations of corruption, abuse of office and conflict of interest against Guvaza over a housing project in Nyatsime.

Allegations are that around October 10, 2007 Guvaza issued a survey instruction to land surveyor Onwell Chikuhuhu in respect of land that was not yet under his jurisdiction.

In issuing the survey instruction, Guvaza is accused of completely ignoring or neglecting the correct procedure before giving out a survey instruction on the said State land in terms of section 25 (1) (a) of the Land Survey Act [Chapter 20:12].

The report alleged that Guvaza acted on his personal interests favouring land surveyor Chikuhuhu to survey stands in Nyatsime Township,making the survey instruction irregular.

Chikuhuhu is alleged to have failed to complete the survey of the Nyatsime Township on the state land under contract with the Chitungwiza Municipality despite having been paid in full. Chitungwiza Municipality then cancelled the contract.

This cancellation of the contract by the Chitungwiza Municipality for failure to perform and subsequent competitive bidding process in order to use the land more economically, Chitungwiza municipality contracted Nissam Investments. This was through a public tender to undertake a development on the land and it included re-planning, surveying, engineering designs and infrastructure developmentusing its own resources.

The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement was the responsible authority and had jurisdiction over the said State land, which was then handed over to the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development on May 30, 2013, six years after the surveyor general had  issued a survey instruction to land surveyor Chikuhuhu.

Guvaza is alleged to have summoned Nissam Investments to accede to issuing instructions to Chikuhuhu but Nissam rejected the request.

“Earlier in 2010, Guvaza had written a letter to the Chitungwiza Municipality advising/demanding that no other surveyor would work on the same project, even though Chikuhuhu had been paid in full, his contract terminated and the layout changed for better land usage notwithstanding the irregularity of his survey instruction,” reads the report.

“This conduct clearly proves his personal interest in the matter with land surveyor Chikuhuhu and more importantly, legally, he should not have done so as he was not the authority responsible for that land as he should have waited for request or mandate from the responsible minister.”

According to the report, Guvaza allegedly abused his duty as a public officer by usurping the powers of the minister in issuing such a letter to the Chitungwiza Municipality, enforcing his old survey instruction of 2007.

Chikuhuhu cannot be found in Guvaza’s office records as required by the provisions of the Land Survey Act, the report reads.

Guvaza is accused of refusing to release the survey report despite written requests in December 2018 and January 2019. He is also accused of refusing to reply to two letters written seeking information about that particular survey record in his office, which are public documents.

Contacted for comment Guvaza said he had not yet received the Zacc report.

He dismissed the allegations as baseless.

“Those allegations are baseless. I have not yet been furnished with that Zacc report. This matter has been with the surveyors’ council and you also get a comment from them,” Guvaza said.