GOVERNMENT has ordered a second audit into a residential stands scam at Marondera Town Council, where over 3 000 prospective home owners were allegedly made to pay for non-existent stands in 2015.
By Jairos Saunyama
The affected residents claimed they were made to pay $1 500 each for the stands in the run-up to the Marondera Central parliamentary by-election.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the land meant for the stands belonged to a private developer, Swandev Private Ltd, which has since written to Local Government minister July Moyo, asking him to intervene after council indicated that it did not have the land for the housing project.
In a letter addressed to Swandev director Kennedy Muraicho, the principal director in the Department of Physical Planning and State Land Management, Ethel Mlalazi, acknowledged receipt of the residents’ complaints and ordered a thorough investigation into the stands saga.
“The ministry wishes to acknowledge receipt of your letter to the minister and to advise that because the issues are many and divergent, there is need for thorough investigation on all areas cited in order to guide the minister to make informed decisions. Therefore you are advised to take note and wait for a response that will be made at the conclusion of investigations,” the letter read.
Recently, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister David Musabayana summoned council officials and Muraicho to discuss the issue.
It is reported that Muraicho agreed to release the land for the stands, with Zanu PF said to be in panic over residents’ anger as elections loom.
Council is expected to pay Swandev for the land.
However, Muraicho wrote to Moyo asking him to intervene as there were irregularities in the out of court settlement that had been agreed between council and Swandev, with Musabayana being the mediator.
According to the letter, also gleaned by this paper, Swandev demanded a deed of settlement and revealed that council abused $4,5m collected from home seekers with nothing on the ground being done.
Swandev’s lawyers, Zuze Law Chambers, also wrote to Musabayana saying: “We further propose on behalf of client everything being in order that your good office directs the municipality of Marondera to be part of the deed of settlement since client has advised that from the previous meeting they are encountering difficulties with the municipality particularly the office of the chamber secretary.”
Zanu PF is reportedly piling pressure on Musabayana to deliver the stands ahead of this year’s elections after some residents threatened to invade the land and allocate themselves the stands.