Ministry Bosses In Court For Land Fraud

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FOUR Local Government ministry officials are in trouble with the law after they allegedly took land illegally from a Harare housing cooperative.

The four, who include Andrew Rhory Shawatu, Nyarai Priscilla Mudzinge, Leah Chigoma and Daisy Mtyambizi, all appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje charged with criminal abuse of office.

They were remanded in custody to this Tuesday for bail ruling.

According to prosecutors, Shawatu was the principal administration officer State Lands, Mudzinge (director local authorities) while Chimoga was acting director legal and Mtyambizi (deputy director spatial planning).

Court heard the officials allegedly attempted to convert the land set aside by Sally Mugabe Heights Housing Cooperative for public use as residential stands.

It is alleged the co-operative was offered 760 hectares of residential stands at Acom Farm through an offer letter dated January 7, 2005, by the Local Government Ministry.

“On July 15, 2005, the Department of Physical Planning, as required by the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act, approved a layout plan of a housing scheme called Acom Estate,” reads court papers.

According to the state, by law, the ministry had to retain 10 percent which could only be allocated by the Minister of Local Government.

The block of land, something that is standard in all layouts, is to ensure that there is land for schools, health services, recreation and other public needs and is compulsory in all suburb developments, public and private, but other public needs can also be considered.

The Investigations carried out revealed that sometime between 2010 and April 2011, the four allegedly connived and wrote a memorandum to the Permanent Secretary recommending the allocation of residential stands in Acom disregarding the dictates of the State Land Management Manual Part 2.

It is alleged that they allocated the land to people who were not on the general waiting list or priority list.

It is further alleged that the Permanent Secretary acted upon the misrepresentation and approved stands to nearly 10 people who were not on waiting list. newzimbabwe

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