Parliament on Thursday unearthed a leasing scandal at ZimPost where the parastatal might be losing thousands of dollars per month through a build and transfer deal they entered with Clinvest Investment to lease out the Harare Post Office mall.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology yesterday learnt that the lease agreement, which was entered into in 2002 between ZimPost and Clinvest Investment could be benefiting the latter while ZimPost suffered financial difficulties.
Clinvest Investment managing director Morar Hemantt appeared before the committee and told MPs he was paying $9 400 including value-added tax per month to ZimPost for the mall but was making $30 000 per month, for sub-letting to other tenants.
MPs were not amused by the deal and said Hemantt was realising 500% profit per month from ZimPost offices while they failed to make enough money to keep the parastatal going.
“You are making about 500% profit in real estate business; do the laws of real estate allow a person to make such high profits?” quizzed Uzumba MP, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.
“Are you not feeling guilty that you are making such huge profits from an organisation that is already sinking in financial problems and would it be unfair for ZimPost management to request that they shorten your lease agreement with them because you have already recouped the cost of your investments and you are now making huge profits?” charged Musikavanhu MP, Prosper Mutseyami.
Hemantt pays $3,50 per square metre for the mall, yet market rates for rentals were $10 to $15 per square metre.
The committee was also told that the mall was divided into 54 shops, 25 units and 29 counters, and one of the shops had been occupied by ZimPost managing director Douglas Zimbango, while the secretary to the general manager occupied one of the counters.
Hemantt told the committee Zimbango was not paying a single cent for the shop he had occupied.
“The MD occupied one of the shops, but that was after the ZimPost board had agreed that he should do so,” said Hemantt.
But, MPs questioned how that agreement had come to be when ZimPost management recently revealed when they appeared before the committee that they did not have a board.
According to Hemantt, the secretary to the general manager was paying $100 for the counter while other tenants paid $430 per month.