By Lisa Takarindwa
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo has faced a strong legal pressing matters in a case in which Allan Norman Markham filed an application reacting to the submissions by the minister on the illegal sale of hesty lands to Kenneth Raydon Sharpe in Harare.
In the applicant’s affidavit filed last week at the High Court of Zimbabwe Case NO: HC 425 as the 1st Applicant, Allan Norman Markham described the Minister as an embarrassment to the nation after failing to uphold the constitutional pertaining the legal matter.
“It is my respectful contention that Minister July Moyo has failed Zimbabwe. He has failed to uphold the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He has failed to be transparent. He has failed to persuade this court that his actions are not motivated by anything other than corruption. He is an embarrassment to the country and to President. With these preliminary remarks, I now proceed to answer each of the averments in Minister July Moyo’s opposing affidavit.”
According to Markham, the Minister failed to provide any tangible evidence to prove to the courts of law that he received a directive from the President to authorize to execute a Deed of Settlement which led to the illegal transfer of land to the self exiled land baron, Raydon Sharpe. Sharpe is the same Ukraine based Businessman who has of late been accused of state capture.
“What planet does Minister July Moyo comes from? The Minister is aware that I am referring to the Deed of Settlement signed in May 2019. I have after all attached that Deed of Settlement. My point is that he had no authority from the President to execute that Deed of Settlement. Even in these opposing papers, he has not provided any proof to show that the President authorized him to sign away land belonging to the State It is correct that the issues we raise have been deliberated upon by the arbitration process as well as the High Court. He therefore accepts that the Justice Muremba’s judgment is extant. He misses my point. My point is that he had no authority to execute the Deed of Settlement.”
The manner in which the Deed of Settlement was issued reviews a number of gray areas which include Minister’s confidance in granting criminal immunity to Aurgur Investment OU, a company which belongs to Kenneth Raydon Sharpe. The Minister in his own capacity opposed the arbitration proceedings, supported the City of Harare in the High Court of Zimbabwe, filed Heads of Argument in the Supreme Court then on the last minute turn around and execute the Deed of Settlement.
“My point is that the Deed of Settlement itself is illegal and contra bonos mores. Where for instance in the world, does he have powers of granting criminal immunity and criminal absolution against Augur Investments OU. What is the basis anyway of granting such criminal absolution? What is so special about such criminal absolution? What did Augur Investments OU give to him in order for him to make decisions that are clearly an abuse of his office? The Minister must explain to this Honourable Court why it opposed the arbitration proceedings, supported the City of Harare in the High Court of Zimbabwe, filed Heads of Argument in the Supreme Court then on the last minute turn around and execute the Deed of Settlement.”
The background of the matter had seen the Minister together with the City of Harare being in a more serious legal fight to the extent of having them taken to court by Aurgr Investments. The most surprising dramatic shift is when the Minister at last devoting to down tools legal fights with Aurgur Investment, a predicament which raises more questions than answers.
“What was the reason for this amazing volte-face. Not only that the Minister has been involved in disputes with Augur Investments OU over Stand 652 Pomona. He has been taken to court by Augur Investments OU. In those proceedings he asserted his rights. I refer for instance to the matter of Augur Investments OU v
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the City of Harare and Others Judgment Number HH-805-16. In that matter both the City of Harare, and the Minister of Local Government opposed an application by Augur Investments OU for possession over Stand 652 Pomona.”
The Minister perjures himself
What the Minister therefore needs to explain the volte-face. The Minister needs to convince this Honourable Court that such a volte-face is an honesty volte-face. The Minister perjures himself. State land is not administered by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. State land is governed by the Communal Lands Act [Chapter This Act does not apply in casu. The land in question is not communal lands and in any event, it is administered by the Minister of Lands. The alienation of State land is governed by Section 16 and Section 17 of the Deeds Registry Act [Chapter 20:05]. Section 16 of that Act reads as follows:- “16 Transfer of State land
(1)The ownership of –
(a)Unalienated State land held under a certificate of State title referred to in subsection (2) of the section seventeen shall be transferred only by deed of transfer executed under proper authority;
(b)Any other unalienated State land shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (2), be transferred only by a deed of grant issued under proper authority and having a diagram of the land annexed thereto
(2)It shall not be necessary to annex to a deed referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) a diagram of any land if a dispensation certificate has been issued in respect of that land and the deed contains a reference to the general plan on which that land is represented”.
Section 17 of the same Act reads as follows:-
“17 Registration of real rights in State land (1)No deed purporting to create or deal with or dispose of any real right in any unalienated State land, other than a deed of grant, shall be capable of registration until a certificate of State title has been issued in respect of that land in terms of subsection (2).”
If any unalienated State land has been surveyed and is represnte on a diagram, a registrar shall, upon written application by the Minister accompanied by the diagram of the land in duplicate, enter the particulars of the land in the appropriate registers and execute in the prescribed form and in accordance with the diagram a certificate of State title thereof prepared by a conveyance.
(3)If, in relation to any State land, a dispensation certificate has been issued, a registrar shall, upon written application by the Minister, enter the particulars of the land in the appropriate registers and execute in the prescribed form a certificate of State title thereof prepared by a notary public and containing a reference to the general plan on which the land is represented.”
The Minister referred to in Section 16 and 17 and not the Minister of Local Government. It is in fact the Minister of Justice.Moreover, the land in question was held in the form of a Deed of Grant issued in the name of the President.”
The 6th Respondent therefore needed a power of attorney from the President to execute the Deed of Settlement and most importantly to transfer the land in question. Ironically, in his defence before the Arbitrator, the Minister, the 6th Respondent herein, pleaded that Stand 652 Pomona should not be interfered with because it belongs to the President and he had no authority to deal with the same. At what stage therefore, does he commit a volte-face?
The Minister needs investigation.
His actions need to be reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission, to SACO and to the Zimbabwe Republic Police. I assure the Minister that I will refer these papers to the above institutions. I join issue with these paragraphs. I restate the contents of my founding affidavit.Assignment is a question of law. It is done by statutory instrument. The Minister must make reference to the particular law. Furthermore, even if there was such an assignment, that would not amount to authority to execute the Deed of Settlement. The Minister must produce an affidavit or a statement of authority from the President. He has failed to do. The Minister had no authority to execute the Deed of Settlement.