Chombo in hot water

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The Harare City Council has officially made a police report against Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for alleged abuse of public office.

The case emanates from Chombo’s letters to the council applying for land on behalf of individuals and companies closely linked to him.

Acting Harare mayor Lancelot Mudavanhu the councillor for ward 16 on Thursday made the police – report IR number 042074.

The acting mayor also gave the police letters written by Chombo which suggested that the minister solicited for vast tracts of land using his power as a minister of local government.

“The main charge we are looking at is the abuse of public office. Other charges that show that there was more than abuse of public office would have to come from the police. We gave the police evidence that will clearly show that the minister (Chombo) abused his office to acquire land,” said Mudavanhu.

The acting mayor said the special investigations committee on land was still continuing with its investigations.

So far the probe into dodgy land deals in and around Harare has fingered business tycoon Phillip Chiyangwa and Chombo.

In one of the letters dated December 13 2006 and directed to the town clerk Chombo applied for a 19-hectare stand in Glen Lorne on behalf of a company called Harvest-Net Enterprise (Pvt) Limited.

“In line with infrastructural development, Harvest-Net Enterprises (Pvt) Limited write to apply for a stand number 61 Glen Lorne. The stand measures 19 3725 hectares in size, which they wish to acquire for development of cluster houses. Certainly this move will contribute to the development of our city,” reads part of the letter signed by Chombo.

Another letter dated May 7 2007 shows that Chombo in his personal capacity applied for a commercial stand in Avondale to build a supermarket.

“I have identified a vacant piece of commercial stand in Avondale on corner West and Lomagundi, remainder of stand number 48, Avondale. I wish therefore to apply for this stand to put up a supermarket to service residents of that area. Hope to hear from you soon,” Chombo wrote.

The council report, a copy of which is in our possession, also lists former council commissioners who acquired vast tracts of land for next to nothing during their tenure at the Harare Town House.

Alfred Tome was named along with other former commissioners who served the council during 2008 political limbo before the harmonised elections ushered in an MDC-majority council.

The commissioners who include Shasekant Jogi, Sivia Masango, Robson Mafoti, Viola Chasi, Prisca Mupfumira, Musavaya Reza and Carlison Matafare, Justin Chivavaya and Madzudzo Pawadyira got an average 2000 square metres of land for their services.

Zanu PF official Oppah Muchinguri also got a stand in Glen Lorne measuring 7 524 square metres.

Apart from the Harvest-Net Enterprise, there are other companies that also benefitted from the land grab that include Elandsrift Investments, Blessings Unlimited, Alterfarm Enterprises and Nest Financial Intermediaries.