HomeLocal News23 000 homeseekers lose $20m

23 000 homeseekers lose $20m

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ILLEGAL housing co-operatives in Chitungwiza collected over $20 million from desperate home seekers for illegal residential stands, it has emerged.

WONAI MASVINGISE

The long-awaited probe report was released yesterday revealing massive land theft. Most of the illegal stands were located on wetlands or on land earmarked for schools or clinics, the audit report on Chitungwiza and Manyame revealed.

Presenting the report to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday, the audit team chairperson Ronald Chimowa said the results of the report were astounding.

According to the report, as many as 23 074 illegal stands valued at $20 423 900 were created in Chitungwiza by a number of land barons accused of running a parallel authority in the dormitory town. Of those stands, 8 260 were allocated in unsuitable areas.

The report fingered the main culprit that sold the bulk of the illegal stands as United We Stand Multipurpose Co-operative chaired by suspended Ward 25 councillor Fraderick Mabamba.

“There were some stands that were allocated on a school site in St Mary’s. In Unit A, we found stands that were created on a clinic site and this adversely affects the people themselves because they will now have to walk long distances to get such services,” said Chimowa.

“It doesn’t need an engineer to see that these areas are not suitable to build on. Stands were created on top of a stream in Zengeza and you can tell by the vegetation surrounding the area that it is clearly a wetland. In Unit G, we found stands that were created on a road blocking stormwater drainage systems. In another area, we found stands allocated between high- voltage Zesa lines.”

Chombo last week reportedly suspended Mabamba, who has been fingered in a massive land scam involving illegal acquisition and sale of residential stands.

Investigations by NewsDay last month showed that Mabamba, a losing Zanu PF mayoral candidate this year, owns six schools, hundreds of residential stands, two shopping complexes and numerous other properties in a town where the majority of residents are desperately looking for land to build their own homes.

The audit recommended that those accused of selling stands illegally be prosecuted and those that are affected be relocated to Dunnotar Farm in the nearby Manyame rural area.

After receiving the report, Chombo said the ministry needed time to go through it in order to study its findings and recommendations.

Meanwhile, Chombo castigated the opposition MDC-T party for firing councillors that were suspected to have voted for Zanu PF mayors in their a councils.

“The reality is that the fired councillors are being fired for voting freely. They are being fired because they are voting according to their conscience. If you put pressure for people to vote a certain way, it is no longer a democratic process. They were councillors choosing a mayor, not an MDC-T mayor. They voted for the person they thought was right for the post,” said Chombo.

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