Ex-Harare estate manager in land scam

Source: Ex-Harare estate manager in land scam -Newsday Zimbabwe

FORMER Harare City Council’s estate manager Emmanuel Mutambirwa appeared in court at the weekend following his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on allegations of selling a piece of land in Borrowdale for ZWL$91 million without following due process.

He was released on US$500 bail.

The complainant is the City of Harare Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango.

Mutambirwa was the City Valuer and Estates Manager for City of Harare during the period extending from 2017 to 2019.

His duties included advertising the intentions of leasing or sale of land for public objections in compliance with Section 152 of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 as read with City of Harare’s standard operating procedures for city valuation and estate management.

In terms of the City of Harare’s standard operating procedures for city valuations and estates management, when an application for lease/sale is received by the head city valuer and estates management, he makes recommendations to the finance director who then prepares a report to council to obtain a council resolution.

Thereafter, the city valuer advertises the proposed lease for public objections and addresses the objections, before inviting the client to make payments.

The requirement to advertise is also provided for in section 152 of the Urban Councils Act, Chapter 29;15.

It is the State’s case that on May 16, 2019, Chinese company Vifot Investments (Private) Limited, applied for land for recreational development on Stand Number 40072 Borrowdale West, Harare Township, measuring 23,9684 hectares which is located in a wetland behind Dandaro Hospital, Borrowdale.

The State alleges that after receiving the application, the accused recommended to Stanley Ndemera, the then acting finance director, and is still at large, the sale of the core of the land to Vifot investment [Pvt] Lid, who instead of seeking a council resolution, instructed the accused to proceed with the process of selling the stand to Vifot Investments [Pvt] Ltd.

Mutambirwa and Ndemera were supposed to ensure that the intended sale was advertised to enable stakeholders and other interested parties to raise objections.

They allegedly deliberately omitted the procedure and instructed their subordinates to proceed with all the processes of the sale by inviting Vifot Investments to proceed to make payments for the land which they valued at ZWL$ 91 679 130-00.

lt is alleged that periodically, the then acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa would directly engage with some of the officials instructing them to expeditiously process the land deal, which then was concluded without adhering to the requirements of the Urban Councils Act and without a council resolution.

The matter came to light when stakeholders and the Borrowdale community raised alarm when they discovered deep trenching and massive excavation in the core of the wetland and they reported the issue to the  Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

The State alleges that Mutambira intended to show undue favour to Vifot (Pvt} Limited as the sale sailed through depriving stakeholders in the area of an opportunity to raise objections.