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Zanu-PF in bid to muscle out company from land

by Staff reporter
28 Aug 2020 at 07:25hrs | Views
THE ruling Zanu-PF District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) for Harare province, chaired by Goodwills Masimirembwa, has been entangled in a messy property wrangle in which it is seeking the eviction of a local company from an 8 575 square-metre property on which it wanted to set up its Borrowdale district offices.

The party's DCC wants the company, Pebny (Pvt) Ltd, evicted from the property despite official documents showing the company made a US$650 000 payment for the land.

According to official City of Harare documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week, the contested piece of land — Lot 55, Pomona Estate — was allocated to Pebny on December 17, 2018 after it outbid other interested firms.

The original price of the land, documents show, was US$130 000, but Pebny ended up paying more because of the bidding process.

"Please, be advised that you have been allocated stand number Lot 55 Pomona Estate (8 Campbell Road) measuring 8 575 square metres. You are hereby advised to approach our legal division at Town House to finalise the Memorandum of Agreement for the proposed development," reads a letter written by City of Harare housing and community development director Addmore Nhekairo.

Pebny accepted the offer through a letter written two days after Nhekairo's offer.

"We accept and acknowledge the allocation of stand number Lot 55, Pomona Estates at the cost of US$650 000. We confirm that the full purchase price is available for disbursement," the letter, by Pebny managing director Ronald Tirivamwe, reads.

Documents further show that the money was deposited into the City of Harare's Estate account on March 8, 2019.

However, in a letter dated June 24, 2020, the Masimirembwa-led Zanu-PF DCC executive wrote to Nhekairo arguing that the property was Zanu-PF property.

"We write to inquire if there is consent that was given by Zanu-PF consenting to the sale of the above property to Pebny. The property belongs to Zanu-PF since 1993. However, to our surprise, we received a letter from the lawyers of a company called Pebny (Pvt) Ltd on 8th November 2019 informing us that they now belonged to Pebny and that we should vacate the premises. Our party records are not showing any resolution that was passed authorising any member of the party to give such consent," the letter reads.

Nhekairo, in his response on June 28, was, however, adamant that the land belonged to City of Harare, which then sold it to Pebny. He also said the council advertised the sale of the land in the press as required by law, and sold it to Pebny after no objection was made.

"City of Harare owns the land we do not have any record of transfer of the deed or sale of the asset," he said, adding the decision to sale the property was made at a joint sitting of the council's health, housing and finance committees in December 2018.

Nhekairo added: "The department of housing and community services made an offer to Pebny (Pvt) Ltd of stand number Lot 55 Pomona Estate (8 Campbell Road) on the 19th of December 2018. The cost of the land is US$650 000 including VAT. Pebney (Pvt) Ltd accepted the offer on the 21st of December 2018 and made the full payment of US$650 000 making them the owners of stand number 55, Pomona Estate."

He said Zanu-PF had been occupying the land illegally.

"The stand was sold in accordance with Section 152 of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15, which stipulates that the sale should be advertised twice in a national daily newspaper. The advert was placed and published in The Herald for two successive weeks and no objections were received for the sale of the land," Nhekairo's letter reads.

Documents further indicate that the Zanu-PF Harare provincial leadership had actually given council the node to sell the property on condition it would be allocated an alternative piece of land.

"This letter serves to inform you that Zanu-PF (Harare province) and its respective districts do not object to your proposal to offer your stand number 55 Campbell Road to a prospective land developer for housing development on condition that you offer us an alternative land for our party offices," an October 30, 2018 letter to City of Harare housing department by the then Zanu-PF Harare provincial secretary for administration, George Mashavave, reads.

Masimirembwa was not available for comment as he neither answered calls on his mobile phone nor responded to questions sent to him.

Source - the independent