BY SHAME MAKOSHORI
A RETIRED top banker has disclosed violation of local government procedures by a leading local property developer, Alpha International Developers, following a dispute over payments.
In letters sent to Alpha seen by NewsDay Business, Austen Ratsauka, who is demanding about $1,8 million for consultancy work done over three months, says he was contracted by the firm to provide professional advice.
However, he discovered that Alpha was collecting money from clients at a housing development scheme in Hatcliffe, Harare, before the city council approved developments.
“(I) prepared and submitted framework proposals to financial institutions in an effort to raise funding for the company’s Beitbridge housing project,” Ratsauka said.
“(I) introduced measures to avoid double-allocation of stands on Alpha projects.
“The situation on the Hatcliffe project in particular posed a challenge as some ‘unallocated-stands beneficiaries’ had moved on to the land, making it difficult to identify genuine owners.
“The consultant was requested to engage the Ministry of Housing and seek assistance to regularise the development.
“This would not be possible because, as the Alpha general manager, (Zivanai) Vhimisai, had advised that, Alpha had not paid for the land yet continued to collect money for the project without meaningful progress on the ground,” said the banker, who is demanding US$4 500 for every month he served.
He said he prepared framework proposals to four financial institutions to raise US$2,4 million, which was earmarked for the firm’s Beitbridge project.
“Despite the absence of a contract of employment, not that I did not try to pursue one with yourselves, I requested that you pay me an executive remuneration for the three months, May to July 2021 that I worked for Alpha International.
“Executives of my level, calibre, experience and track record command a remuneration of at least US$4 500 per month. I am, therefore, requesting that you pay me the sum of US$13 500,” he said.
In an interview with NewsDay Business, Vhimisai acknowledged that Alpha collected funds from clients before local government processes were finalised.
However, he said the problem arose after politicians moved people on to the land before it was developed.
“We acknowledge that we hired him to do some consultancy work, some of which didn’t materialise, and we still owe him some money which we are still processing” Vhimisai said.
“We got the land and it was invaded before we regularised. So we are regularising,” he added.