Chra wants road construction probe

HARARE - A Harare residents group has petitioned mayor Muchadeyi Masunda demanding to know whether council got a fair share in the airport road construction deal.

Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) has written to Masunda demanding to know if council was not duped by Augur Investments, a company that was awarded the tender to construct a dual airport road by a commission set up by the previous Zanu PF government.

Chra claims it suspects council could have been conned by the construction company because the project is “overpriced”.

“According to the Auditor General, the international standard price for new road construction is between $350 000 and $500 000 per kilometre (km). “Can you explain why a road less that 14km and still incomplete has gobbled $14 million?” wrote Chra in a letter also copied to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and his deputy Sessel Zvidzai.

“As the Combined Harare Resident’s Association we stand guided by your expertise on behalf of the people.
“We feel that your value in council is determined by your professional ability to cut costs on behalf of Harare residents,” said Chra.

The group also warned Masunda that in the event the local authority is being fleeced, residents will take “relevant and necessary steps to make sure that Harare gets the right person at the right place for the good of the former sunshine city”.

However, Ken Sharpe, Augur Investment’s director has previously stated the deal is a “win-win situation” between council and his group.

He further claims the deal was done above board.

Recently, the construction of the road was stopped after councillors refused to give Augur Investment a piece of land which is part of the deal until a land investigation that was commissioned in 2009 is complete.

Harare councillors in 2009 conducted a land probe that unearthed irregularities with regards to land deals in the city.

The land probe claimed senior Zanu PF and council officials corruptly benefited in land deals in the capital.

It also claimed the airport road deal was not done in a transparent manner as the tender was not flighted according to council regulations. - Xolisani Ncube

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