Chi-Town ignores land scam report

HARARE - Chitungwiza Municipality has ignored recommendations by a committee set by government to investigate former deputy mayor Fredrick Mabamba on allegations of corruptly acquiring over 1 000 commercial and residential stands in the sprawling town.

According to the July 2012 report done by Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa, Mabamba through his United We Stand Housing Cooperative created stands, generated his own site plan and in the process duplicated stand numbers on land originally earmarked for churches, schools and other recreational facilities.

Mbetsa recommended in the report that Mabamba be investigated with the possibility of criminal charges being laid against him.

Mbetsa demanded that Mabamba’s cooperative provide proof of registration as a cooperative as the allocations were done without council resolution on change of use as required by Section 26 (3) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.

“Mabamba’s United We Stand Housing Co-operatives should be criminally investigated for the duplicated stand numbers as well as provide proof of registration as a cooperative”, read part of the report.

More than six months later, council has not acted on the report and Mabamba claims he has not been probed either by the police or the Anti-Corruption Committee.

Mabamba told the Daily News that council could not take the recommendations on board as the report was inaccurate.

The former mayor accused the resuscitation team of targeting his entity when there were several other cooperatives whose stands were questionable.

“All my dealings with council are above board and the recommendations by the Mbetsa-led team are based on inaccurate information manufactured by certain elements in council who have scores to settle with me.

“My cooperative was registered way back in 1993 and council town planner wrote to me in 2011 to submit all layouts that fall under my portfolio for regularization which I have since done,” said Mabamba.

“It is clear that the minister’s team was not diligent enough when they did the investigations,” he said.

In the letter to Mabamba dated December 5, 2011 Conrad Mooches, Chitungwiza town planner said the council was regularising all stands “that are not appearing in our records without prejudicing beneficiaries. You are therefore, requested to submit all layouts that fall under your portfolio to the undersigned before December 31, 2011 for regularisation.”

Mabamba claims he regularised all his multiple stands.

Chitungwiza Town Clerk George Makunde did not respond to questions emailed to him in December last year at his request.

When a follow-up was made on the issue last week he promised to respond which he had not done by the time of going to print.

Several councillors were also fingered in the report for the stinking corruption that engulfed the dormitory town.

Most of the councillors were subsequently fired by the minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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