Fifty risk losing high-value Borrowdale stands in Supreme Court battle

AROSUME Property Development Private Limited has dismissed claims that it grabbed 50 stands and illegally sold State land in Borrowdale, saying the company had been duly authorised to take transfer of the stands by Government.

The recent Commission of Inquiry into the matter of sale of State land in Harare accused the company of pre-maturely taking transfer of 50 stands allocated to it as security in a property development deal with Government.

The company was also accused of unlawfully subdividing stands allocated to beneficiaries at Carrick Creagh Farm in Borrowdale, selling State land allocated to beneficiaries and fraudulently demanding excessive development fees.

The Commission chaired by Supreme Court judge, Justice Tendai Uchena, has since submitted the report to President Mnangagwa.

However, the company has dismissed the allegations as baseless and false saying everything about the the development project was above board.

The company said it was duly allocated the 50 stands as security against development loss for development costs and the transfer of those stands was legitimate.

“The issue of 50 stands was a pre-requisite by Arosume to enter this agreement. Without this requirement being met, Arosume would have never entered into this partnership.

“Transfers were legitimately processed as requested and the Government cannot change this position when development is 95 percent complete. Interference at this stage is retrogressive and prejudicial to Arosume.

“The agreement was a “win-win” deal in that the Government achieved its goal of having a first up-market development since independence although Arosume is yet to recover its development cost,” reads the company’s response.

Arosume denied ever selling State land already allocated to beneficiaries.

“Arosume never sold State land to anyone. At no point does Arosume sell State land. Arosume only recovers infrastructural development cost,” reads the response.

The company outlined the stand acquisition process followed at Carrick Creagh.

“A stand is allocated to a beneficiary through either cooperative or Government. The beneficiaries are referred to Arosume to pay full development cost.

“Beneficiaries who comply with the developer’s requirements are recommended to Government for lease agreements. Government will sign a lease, which leads to title upon fulfilment of the Government requirements,” reads the papers.

The company said the development cost paid by beneficiaries was reasonable because all the 286 stands in the area are surfaced and tarred.

Each of the stands has since been electrified and they all have water access points.

The partnership agreement between the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development and Arosume Property development was signed on June 7 2007.

Following up to the agreement, the ministry wrote to Arosume clarifying Government Policy on development of state land wrote on 7 July 2009

“The ministry, which is the custodian of all State land in Zimbabwe has endorsed the allocation of 50 residential stand at intrinsic level but now the entire project is at open market value and Arosume was given the first right of refusal of the garden flats stand. This does not mean that beneficiaries are exempted from paying development cost.

“The ministry will facilitate the granting of title to Arosume Property Development for purposes of recouping project costs and mobilising project finance,” reads the letter by S.M. Sibanda on behalf of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary.

”The government policy on state land being developed by private developers is that 10% of land goes to Government commonage and 90% of land is where the developer recoups his investment and profits. In the case of Arosume partnership agreement, Government got 20% commonage 10% which does not pay development cost and the other 10% which pays development cost,” reads the papers. – Herald

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