Zimbabwe: Zacc Probes Grace Mugabe's U.S.$10m Land Grab

Former first lady Grace Mugabe (file photo).

Former First Lady Grace Mugabe and a group of her associates are coming under investigation from anti-corruption authorities following complaints that they grabbed residential stands worth US$10 million without paying from an upmarket development on State land in Borrowdale.

According to state media, Arosume Property Development was appointed developers for the land on Carrick Creagh Estate allocated to Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative in 2005 and have now lodged complaints with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the President's Office.

They allege that Mugabe and then Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo used their political clout to transfer stands from the development to companies they controlled without paying for that land.

ZACC spokesperson John Makamure said the commission would investigate all reported cases of corruption without fear or favour, including the Carrick Creagh Estate.

"We are dealing with all suspected cases of corruption that have either been reported to us, that have appeared in the media or even on social media. We are determined to allow the law to take its course," he said.

According to a letter filed with ZACC, Mugabe and Chombo are accused of using undue influence.

"A tripartite agreement was thus entered into between the Ministry of Local Government, Arosume Property Development and the Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative. The object of the tripartite agreement is the development of upmarket residential stands of varying sizes at Carrick Creagh Estate, Borrowdale, Harare.

The ministry contributed land owned by the state whilst Arosume Property Development was tasked with the development of the area," read the papers.

The agreement came with some regulatory and policy arrangements, such as the standard 20% of the land to be reserved as government commonage as required on all developments where state land is privately developed.

The developer negotiated that 50 undeveloped stands be transferred to Arosume before work started, due the risks involved in the scheme. But the bulk of development costs and profits would come when the stands were sold.

But Arosume now alleges that some with political clout unprocedurally grabbed land from original beneficiaries and transferred the properties into companies and individual names without paying for them, reads the complaint, naming former First Lady Grace Mugabe and former Minister Ignatius Chombo.

It is alleged that former First Lady Grace Mugabe transferred to companies under the directorship of two of her children, Bona and Robert Mugabe Jnr, seven stands totalling just under 10,2ha.

Companies and individuals associated with the First family that benefited include Farai Olivia Mushonganyika who obtained land worth US$364 000 without paying, Junior Gumbochuma for land worth US$544 000 (1,2ha), Penking Investment for land of US$812 000 and Montshow Investments for land of US$1,9 million.

One of the names appearing on the list is former MDC MP for Mabvuku Timothy Mubhawu, who is alleged to have received land worth US$432 000.

Former Cabinet minister Chombo is alleged to have grabbed land worth almost US$1 million with three stands totalling 2,2ha allocated to three firms including Comverol Enterprises and Cavford Trading.

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