By John Nhandara
THE net is closing in on land barons with those involved in the illegal parcelling out of land reserved for the urban renewal project in Harare’s Mbare suburb having been arrested.
A contractor engaged to set up vending structures on land reserved for the urban renewal project in Mbare is counting his loses after losing US$150 000 in the botched land deal.
Investigations carried out by ZBC News indicate that the invasion of the space, has landed two Harare men, Leeroy Muchemwa of Public Eye Hygiene and Hillary Mukaratirwa of Plan Infrastructure Development in the dock on corruption charges.
Mukaratirwa is the project manager of Plan Infrastructure Development, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Harare City Council to undertake government projects under the urban renewal project, but he illegally leased out the land to Musemwa who then engaged a contractor.
The development was confirmed by Harare Metropolitan Secretary for Provincial Affairs, Mr Tafadzwa Muguti amid allegations that US$50 000 exchanged hands.
“We have noticed that land at Mbare urban renewal project had been invaded. Since then, investigations have been done and several arrest have been made. Some people are now in remand. The developer was misled. We have noticed that there are 20 people who benefited financially through corruption or bribes. The Mbare renewal urban project was commissioned by the President and we are going to build residential complexes in Mbare. It’s not different from the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project. It doesn’t matter who you are, no one is above the law and more arrests will be done,” Muguti said.
Elsewhere in Chitungwiza, investigations are underway on the alleged illegal issuance of residential and commercial stands by council officials.
Chitungwiza Housing Director, Mr Alex Mukwewa allegedly connived with some land barons to forge letters with council date stamps to fraudulently parcel out land in areas such as Zengeza, Nyatsime and St Mary’s.