BY JAMES MUONWA
FORMER Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo allegedly parcelled out undesignated housing stands in Banket’s Kuwadzana Phase 2 and converted the money to personal use, NewsDay has learnt.
The ex-Zanu official is said to have abused the portfolio which he held for 15 years, to arm-twist the Zvimba Rural District Council (RDC) to cede vast tracts of land to him.
The revelations came out during the just-ended public hearings conducted in Chinhoyi by the Land Commission appointed to investigate the sale of State land in
and around urban areas throughout the country.
Kuwadzana residents told the probe team, chaired by Justice Tendayi Uchena, that they settled on Kiahora Farm ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections after
paying instalments into Chombo’s personal savings bank account (Agribank number 00523-987-6011).
Residents’ representatives, Tafadzwa Banda, Stella Musekiwa, Solomon Tafirenyika, Chentile Daude and Kennedy Muwishi gave testimony before the commission.
The homeseekers said they later learnt that the said account was, in fact, a personal savings account and not a corporate account for a registered housing co-
operative called Ignatius Chombo Housing Co-operative, which they were forced to join.
They also later learnt that Chombo, who did not construct roads and other essential amenities to allow beneficiaries to move onto their stands, was not the
bona fide owner of the said land.
Commissioner Stephen Chakaipa quizzed the “beneficiaries” why they did not report the fraud to the police.
The respondents said: “Noone dared try recover their money as Chombo was a feared politician then.”
The nearly 700 high-density households in Kuwadzana Phase 2 do not have water and sewer reticulation systems and dwellers, serve for those with pit latrines,
practice open defeacation in nearby bushes, despite having paid development fees to the former minister.
Most started paying instalments dating back to May 2005 up until 2017 when Chombo faced his waterloo following a military coup that toppled former President
Robert Mugabe, his erstwhile benefactor.
Following the takeover of the project by council, residents subsequently paid more monies for the same properties to Zvimba RDC, after the local authority
threatened to repossess all the stands in the unserviced area, the commission heard.