Court

Minister of Local Government in defensive mode on ‘Land Fraud’ Case, says has capacity to authorize sale of stateland

 

The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo has responded to a court case in which he authorized an illegal transfer of 273 hectares of prime Harare land to Kerne Sharpe as payment for the work done in the construction of Airport Road.

Moyo’s submissions comes amid, Harare North legislator Allan Norman Markham seeked his attention on the illegal parceling out of City of Harare Land to the Ukrain based land developer Sharpe.

In his defense the Minister said that he has the capacity to authorize or administer transfer of stateland in the country. Court papers seen by this publication reveals that:

“The land in question is Stateland and its administration is assigned to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. There is therefore no corruption involved. The 6th Respondent therefore had authority to execute the deed of settlement.

Sometime in 2019, The Minister of Local Governments signed what has been termed as an illegal deed of settlement mandating the transfer of 273 hectares of prime Harare land to Kenneth Raydon Sharpe as payment for the construction of Airport Road despite the work being incomplete.

The Deed of Settlement was signed yet ignoring the fact that City of Harare had won an appeal at the High Court which ruled that they did not owe Sharpe the US$15 Million payment for the construction of Airport road.

Local Government Minister July Moyo says he has power to administer all state land on behalf of President Mnangagwa
Sharpe had earlier won an arbitration which City of Harare appealed against but were later forced by Moyo to negotiate with the fugitive businessman resulting in the Deed of Settlement in question.

Markham who sued Moyo, Sharpe and his aides Tatiana Aleshina and Michael John Van Blerk as well as President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the transfer of land to Sharpe was a fraudulent exercise citing a number of irregularities.

However Moyo subtly told Markham and his co-litigants Tavonga Savings Scheme and a Harare resident Jacob Pikicha not to question his decision to accede to transfer of land to Sharpe as he has power to administer all state land.

He further told Markham and his co-litigants to apply to the City of Harare and himself for allocation of stands saying they have no locus standi to block the transfer of land to Sharpe.

In his application, Markham together with Jacob Pikicha and Tavonga Savings Scheme wants the land deal between City of Harare and controversial ‘land baron’ Sharpe to be reversed on the grounds that it was not only illegal but a “grand theft” of land belonging to the people of Zimbabwe.

Kenneth Raydon Sharpe, the man at the centre of the controversial land transfer
“The signatories to that agreement namely Herbert Gomba and Hosiah Chisango (COH), who purported to act on behalf of the City of Harare did not have any authority from the City of Harare. The honourable Minister July Moyo lacked authority from the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Deed of Settlement itself is against the public policy of Zimbabwe, it being founded on illegal and extremely corrupt set of facts.”

Markham and his co-litigants labelled the agreement a complete fraud and a massive land heist against the people of Zimbabwe.

“Further the agreement represented a complete fraud, a massive land heist against the people of Zimbabwe. The Deed of Settlement is also a nullity because the agreement contained provisions that purport to grant criminal immunity to Augur Investments and its associates. To that extent, it is an agreement that offends the laws of Zimbabwe and in any event it’s an agreement contra to public morality,” further reads the application.

The Deed of Settlement entered which was supposed to be confidential asserted that the parties involved will will not take any legal action against each other with undertaking to facilitate the transfer of 654 Pomona Township to Augur Investments within 14 days.

“Upon signature of this Deed of Settlement, the Minister (July Moyo), City of Harare and Augur undertake to withdraw all and any legal actions and proceedings, both civil criminal, pending against each other before the courts.

“The minister undertakes to instruct the Coghlan, Welsh and Guest to release the title deeds to stand number 654 Pomona Township to Augur. Immediately thereafter, the Minister and/or the President shall sign all and any documents necessary to facilitate and effect the transfer of the said stand to Augur or its nominee, Doorex Properties within 14 days.

“The COH guarantees that it has the requisite authority to sign this Deed of Settlement. The minister (July Moyo) warrants that he has the requisite authority from the Government of Zimbabwe and the President to sign this Deed of Settlement as well as all the necessary documents involved in the transfer of Stand 654 Pomona Township to Augur.

“Further to the above the above, the ministry and COH, in the spirit of Zimbabwe being open for business and to support Augur in its continued investments, undertake, subject to statutory compliance, to expedite the issuance of all and any necessary licences and permits to Augur and its related companies for any of its developments which it is carrying out in Harare.”

Tendai Guvamombe