Land audit: council lawyers to begin prosecutions

The long-awaited Marondera Municipality land audit report finally went through the full council meeting last week and was distributed to all stakeholders for council lawyers to initiate prosecution where necessary.

Farai Nyandoro
Farai Nyandoro

The Mayor, Farai Nyandoro, is scheduled to meet with the lawyers this week. He said there were a lot of shocking possible criminal acts committed by some council workers and clients which warranted prosecution.

“Definitely there will be some arrests as the land audit was a shocker. I am meeting with lawyers regarding the legal way forward and there will not be any sacred cows,” he said.

According to the audit findings: “In some instances the estates office did not have essential records such as application letters for land, acceptance letters, receipts for payments and offer letters. In some cases the necessary client files never existed. This could suggest a number of both industrial and residential properties were parcelled out without any payment made to the council.

Council failed to avail a housing waiting list for applicants who were supposed to contribute towards the local authority revenue base. Stands were subsequently allocated to the well-connected ahead of people who had been on the waiting list since time immemorial. Those who benefited without joining the waiting list were identified by the audit.

“Council policies regarding allocation of land were grossly violated. The policy that stipulated that no applicant should be allocated another land before fully developing any other acquired earlier was violated. For example, stand 2736 (UMAA University) where the beneficiary allocated the land and later applied for several extensions without developing the land. The situation also applied in the industrial area where Utsiwegota Trading, Paxtridge Trading, Black Granite and Mazongororo Syringes are companies under one directorship but were allocated vast pieces of land which was not fully developed.”

The report says former Zanu (PF) Mayor, Ralph Chimanikire, was among those who violated council policy. He owns developed and undeveloped stands in the low and high density suburbs, yet council policy states that a person must not own more than one stand in the same residential zone.

The audit team also noted that some land appears to have been given for free, particularly between 1998 and 1999. Stands were dished out without proof of payment to Felix Mahwindo Jeche, K. Kundiona and A. Shiriyapenga among dozens of others.

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