HARARE managers took advantage of the absence of an elected local authority to help themselves to vast residential and commercial stands in the lead-up to last year's harmonised elections, it has emerged.
Local government minister Ignatius Chombo appointed a care-taker commission to run the affairs of the capital following the dissolution of the elected council just before the July 31 vote which was won by the minister's Zanu PF party.
Documents in the possession of NewZimbabwe.com show that the caretaker team's finance and development committee authorised the leasing, with an option to purchase, of residential, industrial and commercial stands to senior officials for initial monthly rentals ranging from $300-$2000.
Members of the Chombo-appointed commission also took advantage of the scheme.
But from the top management team, those who benefitted included director of water Christopher Magwenzi Zvobgo who got Stand Number 5142 in Prospect, Waterfalls, measuring 1,730 square meters.
The records also show that "the recommended lease rental represented the prevailing open market rate of thirty cents (US$0,30) per square meter".
Further, Zvogbo would "pay US$519 every month in rentals, and shall meet the costs of surveying, road construction and providing sewer and water reticulation and advertising the stand".
Apart from Zvogbo, business development director Cosmas Zvikaramba, was handed Stand Number 5144 measuring 1,220 square metres, also in Prospect, for an initial US$366 monthly in rentals for an initial five year period.
The following officials also benefited from the scheme:
Philip Pfukwa, Director of Engineering Services received Stand Number 5145 (situated along Caledon Avenue, Prospect, Waterfalls) measuring 1,318 square metres for US$395 per month.
Dr Stanley Mungofa, Director Health Services, Administration, Stand Number 308 (situated at corner Harare Drive and Kirkman Drive, Warren Park) measuring 360 square metres for US$144/month.
Leslie Gwindi, Director of Communications, Stand Number 309 (situated at corner Harare Drive and Kirkman Drive Warren Park) measuring 360 square metres for US$360/ month.
Justine Mutero Chivavaya, Director of Urban Planning Services, Stand Number 310 (located at Harare/Kirkman Drive Warren Park) measuring 360 square metres for US$360/ month
Dr Prosper Chonzi, Director of Health, Health Services, Stand Number 311 (Harare/Kirkman Drive Warren Park) measuring 360 square metres for US$360/ month.
Dombo Chibanda, Director of Amenities, stand number 19406 (situated along Birmingham Road Extension in Southerton) measuring 6,400 square metres for US$1,920/ month.
James Chiyangwa, Deputy Director of Housing and Community Services Stand Number 9 (located at Nehanda Shopping Centre in Mabvuku) measuring 1,700 square metres for US$682/ month.
All the above transactions were guided by council policy recorded under item 3 of the Minutes of the Land Alienation Sub-Committee dated 26 September 2005, which authorised the lease of 'such' stands through tender and subject to the provisions of Section 152 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29.15)
These directors are given US$3,000 a month in housing allowances and most of them currently occupy council properties where they pay a pittance to the local authority in rentals.