WESTERN embassies (names supplied) were favoured in the illegal parcelling of residential stands by the MDC Alliance-led council in Harare as the opposition party used its control of the capital city to prepare a war chest for 2023 elections and also finance its subversive activities.
This comes after investigations by The Herald revealed that MDC-Alliance councillors have been using their city father status to blatantly disregard the housing waiting list and milk council of millions of dollars through undervaluing properties.
The MDC-A shenanigans in Harare, that could be a tip of the iceberg of corruption in the opposition-controlled local authorities, saw the party leaders, including its leader Nelson Chamisa, being given residential stands, while councillors also sold the stands in US dollars but paid the Harare City Council in local currency.
“Two Western embassies also bought the corruptly acquired land, the land was not sold to them directly but was sold through two real estates that are owned by Gertrude Dumba, who is a Harare Council employee.
“Twenty-five stands were sold to employees of a Western embassy in Westlea under plan number TDF/ER/07/19, the same companies sold 19 residential stands in Greendale to employees of another embassy under plan TPF/WR/69/19,” a person familiar with Harare land dealings said.
Presently, more than a dozen of Harare City Council officials, who include MDC-A Mayor Hebert Gomba, human resources and former housing director Matthew Marara, the city’s town planner Samuel Nyabeze and surveyor Munyaradzi Bowa have been arrested on a string of allegations that include criminal abuse of office and brazen corruption.
The elaborate plan in Harare saw the MDC-A councillors working with the city council management to occupy open land and milk the city dry for personal enrichment and also to prepare for elections.
Investigations by The Herald also established that, because of the elaborate planning from the MDC-A hierarchy, a process that could take weeks to complete would be done in less than two hours, while council resolutions would be fast-tracked to ensure that those who were sold the residential stands, often times who jumped the housing waiting list, had their residential stands in a matter of houses.
Information gleaned from various sources revealed that the only two MDC-A councillors, who are not involved in stripping the city of land out of the 45, are Ian Makone (Ward 18) and Ward 4 councillor Tracey Chagarisa as the party primitively accumulated wealth in what has left the capital with no open space or land banks.
The Harare land scam has also sucked in members of the judiciary, the police, investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, and also some private companies.
One of the companies that was named in the land scam Hayes Construction yesterday, however, denied any connection with the MDC-A saying its dealings were above board.