Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has been fingered in a corruption report produced by the Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission (Zacc) and submitted to the Harare Regional Courts yesterday.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Chombo is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a piece of land designated as a “public place” in Glen Lorne. He allegedly sold the property which he had not paid for, according to the report.
This emerged in court yesterday during the trial of Zacc commissioner Emmanuel Chimwanda who is accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Chombo’s name came out as defence counsel Jonathan Samukange was cross–examining Zacc chairperson Denford Chirindo who is a witness in the case.
Chirindo had begged the court: “This information is supposed to be privileged. I don’t think I can read this because it’s something that has not gone through the commission and has not been finalised. I don’t think it’s proper to read it in court when investigations have not been concluded.”
But Samukange stressed that it made no sense that his client was
being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act, which he said only bars people from communicating information that posed a threat to national security.
He said information pertaining to corruption allegations levelled against a government minister had nothing to do with national security.
Regional Magistrate Hosea Mujaya, however, ruled that the report should be read as prosecutor Michael Reza was agreeable to its reading since it was part of the State papers in the case.
Part of the report, as read by Chirindo, stated that on June 25, 2004, the then local government secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa wrote to Harare City Council to transfer the land, sub-division “K” of Nthaba Glen Lorne, Harare, to Chombo saying it was allocated to him in 1995.
On November 19, 2004, the city’s director of works Psychology Chiwanga is said to have told the City Valuer and Estates
Manager that he had no objection to the transfer but, according to the report, he “had no authority from the Harare City Council” to do so.
On January 7, 2005, Chirindo said council lawyers, Honey and Blanckenberg, requested the agreement of sale between Chombo and the local authority. The latter, however, only responded on February 2, 2006, and enclosed the title deed.
The then town clerk Nomutsa Chideya indicated that no payment had been made and suggested that either the State should pay the city council or they could consider a land swap.
On December 12, 2006, a local government ministry official identified as W Chimba wrote to the town clerk agreeing to a land swap and acknowledged in the letter that the land in question belonged to the city.
On June 2008, Chimba wrote to the town clerk ordering the transfer of the land to someone else on the basis that Chombo had sold it.
“Chombo sold a stand he never purchased himself,” the Zacc report says.
In 2011 NewsDay reported that Harare city councillors had filed a fraud case against Chombo at the police’s Serious Fraud division for alleged illegal acquisition of land in the capital.