Chombo’s latest project

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is building a $100 million shopping mall here, raising fresh questions about the source of the minister's wealth.

The controversial Estonian shelf company, Augur Investments, that Chombo owns is once again at the centre of the construction of the mall that is expected to commence next year and take 16 months to build.

Chombo's Augur Investments has entered into a 50-50 deal with McCormick Property Development to build the shopping complex, to be known as the Mall of Zimbabwe, which will be the biggest on the continent outside of South Africa. It will be built in the capital’s leafy Borrowdale suburb.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the mall was done by Vice President Joice Mujuru last week. Chombo attended as a guest of honour. Ken Sharpe was presented as the man behind Augur Investments when it is in fact Chombo.

It has emerged that a company owned by Chombo, Harvest Net Investments, shares the same address as Augur Investments in Harare. Chombo's Harvest Net and Augur are both located at 62 Quorn Avenue, Mt Pleasant, in Harare.

Augur is the same company that failed to construct the airport road, and has since subcontracted the project to a South African company, Power Construction SA. Augur got over 1000 hectares of land in exchange for the construction of the road which it has failed to do. Despite its failure to build the road, Augur got the land where it is now building the shopping mall.

Councillors who have tried to question this company, including vocal Harare councillor, Warship Dumba, have been fired by Chombo and harassed by police.

The Zimbabwean understands that about 53 percent of the mall has already

been booked by retailers such as South Africa’s Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. and its South African competitor, the Spar Group Ltd.

While Zimbabwe has always had more than its fair share of millionaires, Chombo has been the new figure of extravagance in government. Upon his ascension to political power 1999 as a governor, Chombo had nothing. A decade later, he has mysteriously amassed incredible wealth. Chombo has refused to respond to criticism of his extravagance.

Dumba said there was need for a full public inquiry into the source of Chombo's wealth.

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