NRZ loses millions in property scandals 

Source: NRZ loses millions in property scandals | The Sunday News

NRZ loses millions in property scandals
Ms Respina Zinyanduko

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe is taking stock of its properties across the country amid revelations that it could have lost more than $30 million from paying utility bills for assets it sold over 20 years ago in Hwange.

The development comes hard on the heels of allegations that the parastatal was losing close to $25 million annually to space barons who are paying minimal charges to the organisation, while sub-letting the spaces to desperate residents and making a killing.

Raylton Recreation Club

The company is also in talks with local authorities, some of which have sold or illegally transferred land belonging to NRZ.

Newly appointed general manager Ms Respina Zinyanduko told the Sunday News that they were working on bringing sanity to the real estate side of the company to curb further abuse and financial losses which could change the fortunes of the organisation.

“We have had situations where compounds and some houses that were sold more than 20 years ago are still drawing water and electricity from NRZ without paying anything.

This has resulted in unsustainable utility bills, with some areas like Raylton and Ngumija in Hwange having bills in excess of $30 million since these are charged at commercial rates,” said Ms Zinyanduko.

She added that former and current employees were also caught in the web of corruption as they were collecting rentals for company properties.

This, she said, was bleeding the parastatal.

“We have had situations where employees, former employees and tenants lease part of their spaces to welders and get paid rentals inclusive of electricity usage and the bills are passed on to NRZ.

We have started the process of separating the NRZ meters from residential meters.

This we know will cause some outcry as these occupants never experienced the real cost of paying for water and electricity for the past 25 years plus.

This is however, necessary to avoid unnecessary leakage of our meagre resources.

This exercise will be undertaken as part of a system aimed at plugging the leakages,” she said.

Ms Zinyanduko said the parastatal also owns some run-down buildings that were in need of renovation and efforts were being made to ensure work was done on them.

“We also have very dilapidated buildings that are being leased out, both to external tenants and to employees.

A decision was taken to set aside 30 percent of all the money collected from real estate and channel it towards sprucing up the buildings,” she said.

The NRZ boss also highlighted that some of its land had been sold by local authorities around the country and they were in the process of verifying the land and facilitating that they get it back.

“In the same area of real estate, we are in the process of recovering our land that had been sold by some local authorities and some which had been illegally transferred.

“We are in the process of physically verifying all our land.

We also had situations where proceeds from utilisation of certain properties were being shared amongst committee members within NRZ.

For example, all the Raylton Clubs were being run by committees and nothing was being remitted to NRZ.

The committees also left some of the properties dilapidated as they were not investing back into the properties but rather pocketing the proceeds for personal benefit.

We are in the process of claiming back the properties so that all the revenue generated can be accounted for under NRZ,” she added.

Ms Zinyanduko noted that NRZ had vast tracts of land and properties nationwide, however, the revenue from the real estate side has been minimal with allegations of corruption and malpractice.

So far, revenue generated from cleaning some of the mess was more than 100 percent in USD terms.

“All the regions were given stretch targets in terms of revenue generation from real estate and I am happy with the progress our regional managers are making in this area.

We are in the process of zoning our land so that we can apply uniform lease fees for each area.

This will go a long way in addressing allegations of corruption.

“We have had situations in some instances where we had land barons who were paying peanuts to NRZ and subletting to other tenants, making huge profits.

A good example is two cases we had in Gweru where a tenant was paying NRZ US$120 at interbank rate and collecting US$4000  from sub-tenants.

We have since cancelled the leases as sub-leasing is illegal.

Some have reverted back to their businesses but we have given them notices of increase of rentals to market rates,” she added.

“We are in the process of physically verifying all our land. We also had situations where proceeds from utilisation of certain properties were being shared among committee members within NRZ. For example, all the Raylton Clubs were being run by committees and nothing was being remitted to NRZ.

The committees also left some of the properties dilapidated as they were not investing back into the properties but rather pocketing the proceeds for personal benefit.

We are in the process of claiming back the properties so that all the revenue generated can be accounted for under NRZ,” she added.

Ms Zinyanduko noted that NRZ had vast tracts of land and properties nationwide, however, the revenue from the real estate side has been minimal with allegations of corruption and malpractice.

So far, revenue generated from cleaning some of the mess was more than 100 percent in USD terms.

“All the regions were given stretch targets in terms of revenue generation from real estate and I am happy with the progress our regional managers are making in this area.

We are in the process of zoning our land so that we can apply uniform lease fees for each area.

This will go a long way in addressing allegations of corruption.

“We have had situations in some instances where we had land barons who were paying peanuts to NRZ and subletting to other tenants, making huge profits.

“A good example is two cases we had in Gweru where a tenant was paying NRZ US$120 at interbank rate and collecting US$4 000  from sub-tenants.

We have since cancelled the leases as sub-leasing is illegal.

Some have reverted back to their businesses but we have given them notices of increase of rentals to market rates,” she added. —  @NyembeziMu

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 4
  • comment-avatar
    Saddened 3 weeks ago

    Another Zimbabwean Parastatal well run (into the ground anyway)

  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 3 weeks ago

    Pennies paid to our NRZ very clever financial geniuses while the buyer smiles all the way to his mansion in Dubai or his where ever…

  • comment-avatar
    Mukanya 3 weeks ago

    Resuscitation of NRZ is a far-cry dream…!

  • comment-avatar
    dubonus 3 weeks ago

    Total corruption from top to bottom, made possible by almost unbelievably incompetent ‘management’. All you can be certain of is that nothing will change whilst ZANU-PF are in charge.