By Senior Court Reporter
HARARE – Outspoken Harare North legislator Norman Markham has exposed former local government minister Ignatius Chombo’s quickly executed grand plan to benefit and loot City of Harare land in the absence of elected councillors through the appointment of a caretaker commission headed by Michael Mahachi.
The commission was appointed in May 2008 after the March general elections.
According to Markham, on the same day the caretaker commission was appointed, it entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Augur Investments for the construction of Airport road.
The airport road deal has caused a lot of problems for City of Harare with Augur Investments whose physical address was then Chombo’s private business premises, failing to fulfil the terms of the agreement though they went on to demand land as payment for the job.
Markham says the appointment of a caretaker commission to run the affairs of the City of Harare was deliberate plan to loot land.
“I restate my contention that the Minister appointed Mr Mahachi to loot. The respondents must explain why the councillors were not allowed to take oath of office,” said Markham.
“I have already attached the minutes of the caretaker council of the 29th May 2008 which confirms the formal appointment of that Commission by letter from the Minister of the 21st May 2008.
“On that very same day, the 6th Respondent’s (Minister of Local government and public works) appointee Michael Mahachi signed a Memorandum of Agreement with 1st Respondent for the construction of the Airport Road without council approval. The 6th Respondent witnessed the Memorandum of Understanding thereby endorsing it.
“The 6th Respondent thus appointed Michael Mahachi in order to enable Mahachi to sign the Memorandum of Understanding,” added Markham.
Chombo also used his proximity to Mahachi to purchase two properties from City of Harare.
Prior to Chombo purchasing the said properties, Markham said City of Harare had turned down countless applications for the same piece of land.
Markham further noted that City of Harare breached its own procurement regulations by selling the two properties without going to tender.
“In addition Minister Chombo actually acquired two properties through Harvest Net Enterprises (Pvt) Limited, at a time that Mahachi was the caretaker council.
In a letter dated 13th December 2006 addressed to the Town Clerk, Minister Chombo applied for Stand 61 Helensvale, Harare on behalf of a company called Harvest Net Enterprises (Pvt) Limited. In this letter, Minister Chombo indicated that he intended to use the land for cluster houses. Prior to Minister Chombo’s application, the City Council had turned down several similar applications over the years for the same piece of land,” said Markham.
By Senior Court Reporter