MDC-A councillors under probe for land scam

MUTARE – MDC-Alliance councillors at Mutare City are under probe from the party leadership over fraudulent acquisition of stands in Mutare without paying any cent prejudicing the local authority of potential revenue.

A forensic audit done by Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing from March 2007 and released in February this year revealed that the councillors acquired commercial and residential stands for free.

Some of the councillors even allocated themselves a total of three stands each and sold them without paying cessation and related taxes, prejudicing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority thousands of dollars in the shady land deals.

Some of the councillors have bought cars and houses and ‘living luxurious lives’ from the proceeds of the underhand deals.

The councillors are set to meet MDC-Alliance secretary for Local Government Cecil Zvidzai on Thursday this week.

 The Councillors recently snubbed a meeting with the party’s top hierarchy in Harare over the matter.

Only Tandi and Bhiza attended the meeting.

In an interview with Zimbabwe Morning Post on Monday, Zvidzai confirmed that he will be meeting the councillors on Thursday in Mutare.

“Yes, we were supposed to meet the councillors in Harare but we have rescheduled the meeting to this week in Mutare, we will be in Manicaland on Thursday to discuss on the issues,” he said.

Addressing hundreds of party supporters at Chisamba grounds in Mutare in March, MDC-Alliance President Nelson Chamisa lashed out at the councillors saying they were tarnishing the integrity of the party.

“l am told that some of our councillors are engaged in corrupt
activities. This is not our culture as the MDC. The members who are committing the offense must face the chop,” said Chamisa.

“Let me warn you and we will not hesitate to drop you. MDC has no room for corruption. We have a poor economy because of corruption so as the MDC-party we need to be exemplary and this should not part of our culture,” he said.

The councillors alleged to be involved in the scam include the current Mayor Blessing Tandi and his deputy Kudakwashe Chisango.

Others include Thomas Nyamupangedengu (Ward 1), Tsitsi Ziweya (Ward 3), Edison Kalulu (Ward 4) and Nelson Mapuvire (Ward 5).

Also under probe are Crispin Dube (Ward 9), Farai Bhiza(Ward 11) and John Nyamhoka 9 (Ward 17.

The non-payment for undervalued commercial and residential stands acquired by councillors was a direct contravention of the parent ministry’s circular number 12 of November 2016 that requires councillors to pay 40 percent of the full purchase price on stands allocated to them as a benefit during the tenure of office.

Some of the city fathers have since sold the undeveloped stands without paying cessation and related taxes, prejudicing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority thousands of dollars in the shady land deals.

Tandi, put the blame on the former Town Clerk Obert Muzawazi.

“If the former town clerk gave us land, it was his own mess. Maybe he was not giving the council good advice. We have stands and we decided not to pay for them because they were un-serviced stands on Beira Corridor,” he said.

“When we are in office, we need decent accommodation. According to the Local Government ministry, we should get stands. We took the stands in Beira Corridor to safeguard our rights in terms of the Constitution,” said Tandi.

Close sources have said the councillors might face expulsion from the party as Chamisa was angry over the matter.