ZACC probes city’s irregular land sales
Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is investigating irregular land sales involving serving Harare City councillors and those who served under former mayor Mr Muchadeyi Masunda. The commission is also probing the awarding of tenders to Energy Resources Africa Consortium (ERAC) and Sidal Engineers for the rehabilitation of Firle Sewage Works by the MDC-T-run council.
ZACC has already seized documents relating to the two cases.
An investigation by a team set up by council comprising four councillors and three external experts — an engineer, a lawyer and an accountant — last year revealed that council awarded the $13,8 million tender to an unregistered company with no capacity to carry out the work.
ERAC was not formally registered and has been paid millions of dollars since 2011, although the two parties did not have a contract.
Sources at Town House have revealed that investigators have already requested several documents from city management as fears abound that some officials and councillors might have corruptly benefited from the transactions.
According to the source, ZACC investigators have also requested the list of all councillors who served Harare for the past eight years and details of land sales involving councillors.
Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday confirmed that ZACC officials had descended on Town House.
“I can confirm that ZACC officials are investigating land sales involving councillors. Ask Mrs Ncube (acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube), she is the one who received the letter,” he said.
Mrs Ncube could not be reached for comment.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing recently declared that no councillor will receive special benefits following the recent abuse of privileges for the purchasing of industrial and commercial stands by councillors.
Councillors can, however, still purchase residential stands within their wards, provided they do not own any other residential stand.
“The investigators requested a list of all serving councillors and those who have left as well as copies of lease agreements on City of Harare properties being leased out or sold to councillors in the past eight years as well as minutes approving the leases.” “They have also requested all documents regarding the contract to rehabilitate Firle and minutes approving thereof,” said the source.
The deal to rehabilitate Firle has been shrouded in controversy with documents showing that whereas the Harare City Council wrote to ERAC and five other companies — AMA Welders, Martin Millers, Engineering and Electrical Suppliers, Sidal Engineers and Easternfield — inviting them for “selective tender” on December 20 2010, ERAC began its registration as a company on January 20, 2011.
It only got its Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar of Companies on February 17, 2011 after the tender had been closed on February 8, 2011. The company is a joint venture between Energy Resources Africa owned by a Dave Mashayamombe and a South African company, Portriver, owned by Harold Crown.