The committee recently appointed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to probe alleged corrupt activities at Chitungwiza Municipality has produced a damning report accusing councillors and senior council officials of contravening the local authoritys land use plan and turning space reserved for recreational facilities into residential stands.
Part of the report reads: There are numerous church, school, recreational and crche sites and open spaces that were converted into residential stands without following the procedures of Section 26(3)of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.
The report further reads:
The numerous church, school, recreational and crche sites and open spaces that were illegally converted into residential stands are the main findings of this report and the recommendations therein.
The 31-page document recommended that all councillors and officials implicated in the scam be penalised.
Chombo appointed the committee following the suspension of town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa and several other senior council officials over allegations of corruption and abuse of office, mostly relating to the sale of residential stands.
In 2010, the MDC-T fired from its ranks the entire 24 councillors in Chitungwiza over allegations of fraud, but Chombo refused to sack them from council.
The report alleges council officials and eight former MDC-T councillors illegally allocated and sold stands to unsuspecting home-seekers at inflated prices and pocketed the money.
The committee discovered that Chitungwiza did not have a policy to deal with allocation, relocation and repossession of housing stands.
Repossessions as a result of the failure to construct in the agreed nine months and non-payment of rates were undertaken without informing the lessees. Lessees would then see developments by other people on their stands, read part of the report.
According to the report, Tanyanyiwa illegally ordered that 358 stands be pegged on a piece of land earmarked for a school in St Marys/Manyame Park.
In Zengeza 3, Chitungwizas director of works Alfonso Tinofa allegedly allocated 1 868 stands on land earmarked for construction of a secondary school.
The committee also noted similar irregularities in the allocation of stands in Zengeza 4, Unit H, Unit K, Units NOP and M.
According to the report, several church stands in Unit K and J were illegally allocated following requests by an official only identified as Makuchete and councillors Jacob Rukweza and Brighton Mazhindu.
Other stands in the town were allocated in road reserves/buffers and these include those in Zengeza 1 (27 stands) at the request of a councillor only identified as Muchawaya.