BY Brenna Matendere
FORMER Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has been implicated in the irregular allocation of State land to private developers in the Midlands province.
Cecilia Chitiyo, the former Midlands provincial administrator (PA), told the Justice Tendai Uchena-led commission of inquiry into sale of State land that Chombo, who headed the Local
Government ministry between 2000 and 2015, gave the nod to all the allocations that later turned out to be irregular.
She claimed that Chombo allowed for the annexure of commercial farms surrounding Gweru, Shurugwi and Zvishavane, before he formally transferred the land in question from the Lands
ministry to the Local Government ministry as per procedure.
The commission heard that private land developers were even allowed to develop residential stands even before the approval of their engineering designs by local authorities.
Justice Uchena reminded Chitiyo that the allocations were not above board, as they were done by a small group of officers led by former Midlands Provincial Affairs minister, Jason
The judge also said the committee in which Chitiyo sat in had no power to allocate State land to private developers.
“The minister (Chombo) was aware of what we were doing in terms of the allocations of land. He would come for ground-breaking ceremonies of the projects. He would also come to
officially open the projects. So, I do not know why it is now said the land allocations were illegal when the minister and at times his permanent secretary would grace such occasions?”
She also revealed that during such occasions, Chombo would actually praise her for a job well done, making her believe the province was on the right track with regards to land
Justice Uchena told Chitiyo, who now heads Mashonaland West province, that it was incumbent upon her to advise Chombo that what was happening was wrong.
“I believe that you write examinations to become a PA or you get requisite training in administration. You should have known that what was happening was wrong and told your superior,”
Chitiyo, however, insisted she had no authority to challenge her boss.