MUTARE land development company Musha Mukadzi Housing Project “might not have paid for land to council” on which it developed and sold 187 stands in Hobhouse area, a forensic audit investigation report has revealed.
The audit said there was “no proof of payment in the council records in respect of Musha Mukadzi Land Developer towards the land sale” which is valued at US$176 000 despite claims that it had paid $53 000. Even the memorandum of agreement between council and the land developer “was not availed for verification” leaving auditors with unanswered questions over the nature of the land deal which was entered more than five years ago.
They noted that “there was no transparency in the allocation and sale” of the land. The audit slammed council officials in land management as they “failed to uphold or cause the upholding of contracts resulting in subjecting the loss of revenue in violation of section 44 (b) (1) of the Public Finance Management Act Chapter 22:19.”
It accused council of allocating land to land developers whose financial capacity they would not have assessed. “Council should assess the financial capacity of land developers before allocating them land for development.” The audit also recommended that “council should follow-up the outstanding debt from Musha Mukadzi.”
Meanwhile, Mutare City Council lost over 70 hectares “of its precious piece of land” as government continues to delay compensating the local authority for land on which military barracks and 3 Brigade headquarters were built decades ago.
The audit report notes that government took 70 9495 hectares which it should have paid back when it made a land swap with council for the Meikles Park land for 100 hectares with land near Fern Valley.‘