Harare Council workers arrested for selling State land

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THREE Harare City Council (HCC) employees have been arrested for allegedly defrauding their employer of US$765 000 after selling State land to unsuspecting home seekers in Kuwadzana high-density suburb.

Believer Mupawaenda (46), Rudo Chigocha (45) and Margaret George (31) appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded them to March 3 on $1 000 bail each.

Mupawaenda and Chigocha are attached to the department of housing and community services, while George is with the department of works.

Allegations are that between 2017 and 2018, the trio hatched a plan to defraud the City of Harare after identifying open spaces in Kuwadzana 3, 4, 5 and 6.

They allegedly created fictitious paying schemes and originated fake layout plans before they fraudulently connected water for the purpose of selling the 150 stands to home seekers.

The State alleges that a total of 150 stands were sold by the accused persons to homeseekers without council’s approval.

To cover up their tracks, the accused persons allegedly generated fraudulent provisional allocation letters and files for each stand.

The alleged forged documents were recovered from Chigocha.

The State further alleges that old, cancelled stand numbers were used to illegally allocate the said stands and George illegally connected water supplies to the stands.

A whistleblower blew the lid off the scam, leading to the arrest of the trio on January 27 this year.

The State alleges that as a result of the trio’s actions, the council was prejudiced of US$765 000, being the value of the 150 residential stands.