SACU swoops on Harare land barons

Source: SACU swoops on Harare land barons – Business Times


The Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President (SACU) is investigating the illegal sale of State land at Bellapasie Farm in Harare amid revelations that land barons illegally subdivided the farm and pocketed the proceeds, it emerged this week.

The farm measures about 140 3805 hectares and is located around the Hatfield area.

SACU investigations were triggered by findings in the recent report by Justice Tendai Uchena on sale of State Land in Zimbabwe’s urban areas.

SACU head Thabani Mpofu confirmed the investigations without giving further details.

According to documents seen by Business Times this week, there are allegations that there was no memorandum of agreement between the Ministry of Local Government and the housing cooperatives currently occupying Bellapasie Farm.

SACU has launched investigations into the alleged theft of State land at Bellapasie Farm by alleged land barons.

“There is no agreement between the Ministry of Local Government and Green Valley Housing Cooperative. The Ministry of Local Government allocated the farm of Green Valley before prior proper handover had been done,” reads part of the documents.

A notice of intention to acquire Bellapasie farm was gazetted on December 30, 2011 under GN Number. 4594/11.Acquisition was confirmed by the Administrative Court on April 12, 2012 under case number LA6071/12 and the farm was confirmed as State land.

Prior to acquisition the farm was owned by Bellapasie Estates Limited held under Deed of Transfer Number 4039/92.

The farm was handed over to the Ministry of Local Government for urban development on May 4, 2012 but the farm was not valued and no intrinsic value was paid.

Following the handover of the farm, a layout plan was eventually approved for Green Valley Housing Cooperative on December 16, 2010 creating 297 stands.

The then Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities allocated the whole farm to Green Valley Housing Cooperative by way of an offer letter dated January 13, 2010.Green Valley Housing Corporative allocated stands to its members while Tembwe Development Committee and Bellapasie Housing Trust fronted by Danny Masukuma also sold stands to home seekers.

There are allegations that Nelson Mandizvidza of Twin Life Investments sold stands to desperate home seekers while Bernard Mutanga, an individual, also sold stands to home seekers.

The farm is currently occupied by 256 co-operatives of Green Valley Housing and people who bought stands from Mandizvidza, Mutanga and Bellapasie Trust.

According to the documents, Green Valley claims to have surrendered 30 stands to the Ministry of Local Government through a letter dated February 22, 2011 but the ministry is disputing having received the stands.

The government is on a drive to flush out land barons that are selling State or council land or wetlands.

The heavy rains have been flooding settlements on wetlands and in low lying areas, destroying homes and property necessitating the need for the government to relocate the affected households.

On Tuesday, Cabinet announced that the government will streamline the operations of co-operatives, including through de-registering all co-operatives which were captured by land barons as one of the measures to redress the illegal settlements.