By Anyway Yotamu
HARARE – Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has denied allegations of fraud emanating from a Secret Deed of Settlement signed between “still at large” land baron Ken Sharpe’s company Augur Investments.
According to Minister Moyo who was responding to a court application by MDC Alliance legislator Norman Markham in which he sought a reversal of the agreement alleging that there was a grand theft of land by the Ukrainian registered company.
The secret Deed of Settlement was signed by Augur Investment’s controversial Chief Operations Officer Tatiana Aleshina and Minister Moyo while suspended Town Clerk and former Harare Mayor Hebert Gomba on behalf of City of Harare.
Moyo is cited as 6th respondent other are respondents are Kenneth Sharpe, Tatiana Aleshina, Michael van Blerk, Doorex Properties and Registrar of Deeds.
Denies allegations of corruption as alleged by the Harare North member of Parliament , Moyo says:
“The 6th respondent signed a deed of settlement in May 2019 and had the authority to do so as the land in question was State land and is under his administration. There was no corruption involved as alleged by the applicants. The applicants have not clarified on their locus standi on the issue which was purely between Parties who consented to an agreement,” Moyo said.
Markham argues that City of Harare was trying to regain the land through the courts, Moyo, representing himself and Mnangagwa signed a secret deal offering Augur and its associated companies, directors and representatives immunity from past, present and future litigation over the land by the government, council or any third parties.
The deal was signed without the knowledge of the full council and Gomba was not authorised to sign it on behalf of the local authority, lawyers for Markham, housing activist Jacob Pikicha and the Tavonga Savings Scheme say.
The Deed of Settlement partly reads: “Upon signature of this Deed of Settlement, the Minister (July Moyo), City of Harare and Augur undertake to withdraw all and any legal actions and proceedings, both civil criminal, pending against each other before the courts.
“The minister undertakes to instruct the Coghlan, Welsh and Guest to release the title deeds to stand number 654 Pomona Township to Augur. Immediately thereafter, the Minister and/or the President shall sign all and any documents necessary to facilitate and effect the transfer of the said stand to Augur or its nominee, Doorex Properties within 14 days.
“The COH guarantees that it has the requisite authority to sign this Deed of Settlement. The minister (July Moyo) warrants that he has the requisite authority from the Government of Zimbabwe and the President to sign this Deed of Settlement as well as all the necessary documents involved in the transfer of Stand 654 Pomona Township to Augur.
“Further to the above the above, the ministry and COH, in the spirit of Zimbabwe being open for business and to support Augur in its continued investments, undertake, subject to statutory compliance, to expedite the issuance of all and any necessary licences and permits to Augur and its related companies for any of its developments which it is carrying out in Harare.”
Augur has been allocated nearly 700 hectares of prime land in Harare, sparking dozens of legal disputes since 2009.
Markham, Tavonga Savings Scheme and Pikicha argue that the Deed of Settlement is not only illegal but a clear case of theft of prime council land.
Minister Moyo claims he controls all State land in the country.
By Anyway Yotamu