“We have been facing challenges from the new Ward 6 councillor, Hasmon Shadaya, who has been making allegations and feeding scepticism to the minds of the beneficiaries, which is threatening to derail the project,” said the land developer, Lloyd Chipuka.
“We have received calls from some beneficiaries claiming that the councillor has started his own project, in which around 200 individuals are being asked to pay $40 for the services we are supposed to provide.”
Chipuka’s company (LAS Chipuka Land Surveyors) is one of the three survey firms engaged by Epworth Local Board in 2010 to help develop the area.
More than 3,500 households have been occupying the land since 2001. Formalisation of the area was spearheaded by the former MDC-T Ward 6 councillor, Richard Tahwa, and his chief whip Petros Zabron of Zanu (PF) in 2011. They chose Chipuka’s firm to develop the area.
Shadaya accuses Chipuka of inflating the total cost of the project from $300,742 to $1,459,600. “Chipuka is lying. He is making people pay $400 instead of $100 per stand or household for the whole project,” said Shadaya.
“For instance, he made people pay $10 per stand instead of $1.22 to come up with $4,732 to pay the Environment Management Agency for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate,”
Shadaya also claims most people who paid for stands have been left out.
“These people are the ones who no longer want Chipuka since the majority of those who paid did not get stands and are now demanding their cash or stands. However, we are now doing enumeration of the people on the ground and restarting the whole project,” said Shadaya.
Meanwhile residents are baffled by the accusations and counter-accusations
Epworth Residents’ Association secretary-general Peter Nyapetwa said residents were tired of manipulative politicians and developers.
“A similar case happened in 2010 in Domboramwari, where thousands of desperate home-seekers were made to pay $15 every month for three years. The politicians and the developer involved disappeared in early 2013 with people’s money,” he said.
He urged the board and government to protect the interest of the people and make sure that the culprits were brought to book.
The Epworth Local Board chair, Tafireyi Murambidzi, said both Chipuka and Shadaya would be summoned to sit down and iron out the problem.
“Only through an audit after the surveyor finishes his work will we be able to tell whether he overcharged or not, but for now he is engaged and work will continue,” he said.Post published in: News