Govt struggles to complete CID HQ

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke government is struggling to complete the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)’s headquarters (HQ) because of financial constraints, the Senate heard last week.

The building has been under construction for more than a decade.

Local Government deputy minister Christopher Chingosho told a question and answer session that “economic hardships” were hampering completion of the HQ.

“There is a liquidity crunch. We need to accumulate enough funds and capital to complete construction of this building,” he said.

MDC senator Keresencia Chabuka further questioned Chingosho how government was going to complete many projects they promised, including building houses for civil servants.

“Why do you not first of all complete existing projects before you embark on new ones?”

Chingosho said government was going to engage private partners in other projects.

“The buildings which the ministry is promising to launch . . . are not going to be constructed using funds from the Treasury, ministry or government but we have individual organisations and persons who will be putting money into the construction of these houses,” he responded.

“These are the people who are giving money to the government and government has to construct the houses for those individuals.

“I promise you, should government have enough money, we will definitely complete those outstanding building projects.”

Last month, government launched an ambitious programme to build 500 000 houses for civil servants in the next 18 months, as part of its efforts to reduce the housing backlog and incentivise the restive public workers.

The senators also grilled Chingosho on the land barons issue, saying government was relaxed in dealing with land barons.

“Are these land barons going to pay any levies, taxes or any amount to show that they are grateful because they are given this land free of charge, yet they have a turnover of millions and millions of dollars.

“Are they paying anything to the coffers of the State?” Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira asked.

In his response, Chingosho said: “Let me say to you from the onset — clearly and bluntly, these land barons are not paying anything to the State.

“When we talk of the derogatory term ‘land baron’, it means this individual is using the State land without any permission.”

“They are breaking the law and what we have now agreed on is that whenever we hear of a land baron, these people have to be arrested because the State and the local authority are not benefiting anything.

“As I speak to this august House, we have some of these land barons who have been arrested and are appearing before our courts of law for trial.”

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