Harare Council interns named in fresh land thefts scandal

Ex-Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba

A HARARE City Council land scandal investigation report has shown that two former students on attachment were also involved in the selling of illegal stands.

According to the report, Armstrong Sandasi and Masimbaashe Nyemba were used to receive money on behalf of the principals of the cartel.

Sandasi is an ex-student attachee in the Housing and Community Services while Nyemba is an ex-student attachee in the Town Planning Department.

An organised cartel of 17 employees facilitated and carefully orchestrated illegal allocation and acquisition of 152 Council stands for personal benefit.

The stands measured a combined total 48 479 sqm with a value of US$1 201 779,50.

Following some information by a whistle blower in connection with illicit land deals, a team of investigators from Harare Metropolitan police was set up to find out the exact nature of the deals.

The report covers the theft of residential stands between 2015 and 2019 in Kuwadzana township.

Reads the report, “The team of (investigators) proved beyond reasonable doubt that there was indeed rampant and massive illegal allocation and sale of council land in Kuwadzana township between 2015 and 2019…”

In some cases, the person named would either remit cash or deposit the proceeds from illegal land sales into Tapiwa Gona’s CABS account no 1002651433.

“Tapiwa would then distribute the proceeds to acting director Matthew Marara and his cohorts,” reads the report.

“The illegal allotees were issued with waiting list numbers belonging to other applicants registered on the official list.

“The beneficiaries were never on the official council housing list as per procedure.

“Fraudulent layout plans were created with forged authorisation or in other cases, previously approved layout plans were modified to allow addition of stands to circumvent ministerial approval, town planning processes and to fit inclusion in the official plan.”

The two ex-students attachees are reportedly on the run while some council employees have been arrested and appeared in court.