Mutare probes councillors

Mutare City Council is probing councillors and officials who were implicated in the forensic land audit for allegedly corruptly allocating themselves land cheaply.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

The investigations come after the local municipality last week suspended four middle managers who were allegedly involved in the illegal parcelling out of land in the eastern border city.

The forensic land audit covered the period 2007-2018.

Tawanda Kanengoni (legal officer) is facing 14 counts, Isdore Bingura (land valuer) 13 counts, Christian Sithole (former deputy director in the housing department) faces three counts and Joachim Gonese (land valuer) 11 counts.
A recently released forensic land audit also implicated most councillors in a scam in which they acquired land cheaply, while others have not paid for it.

The land audit, which was carried out by the Local Government ministry from 2007 to March last year, showed that stands sold to councillors and some individuals was not correctly valued.

Eighteen councillors, from Zanu PF and MDC, have reportedly acquired several stands, some at give-away prices.
Mutare mayor Blessing Tandi, who is also implicated, said as councillors, they decided not to pay for the stands because they were not developed.

Mutare City spokesperson Spren Mtiwi said some of the issues in the audit report require further investigation.

“There are some issues which are being looked into, some of the issues require investigation and others are a question of implementing the recommendations, but obviously we have started to take action,” he said.

Kanengoni allegedly sold a 227 square metre commercial stand to Bernard Matondo for US$2 500 without following tender procedures.

In May 2017, he is alleged to have presented to the then newly-appointed town clerk Joshua Maligwa draft agreements of sale for the allocation of a 300m² stand in Golf Course, Dangamvura.

Kanengoni is also accused of incompetence after he prepared agreements of sale which did not contain clauses on value-added tax, servicing costs and survey fees.

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