HARARE – Former Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo joined forces with, former caretaker council chair Michael Mahachi and controversial land baron Kenneth Raydon Sharpe masterminded the biggest land heists in 63 days ever witnessed in the history of Zimbabwe.
Chombo and Augur Investments connived Harare City Council to steal Zimbabwe’s vast tracts of prime land worthy nearly US$ 2 billion, a special report has revealed.
The Special Report done by City of Harare established that, most illegal land sales were done by the Commissions appointed by Chombo led by Michael Mahachi. The committee also noted that during the tenure of these Commissions, Chombo would mastermind the expulsion of Senior Council Officers who posed a threat to his shenanigans. Morever, he would then replace the strategic positions with his buddies or his loyal subordinates from his Ministry who expeditiously transferred vast tracts of land to Ken Sharpe for a job he didn’t execute on Airport Road plus another vehicle, Sunshine Development projects.
Michael Mahachi was doubling as City of Harare Appointed Councillor as well as Project Manager for Augur without declaring his interests, a clear sign of conflict of interest. The whole time he was identifying land for his bosses, Ken Sharpe and Chombo.
During that phase, no progress updates were made to Council on the project. Stand 812 was hurriedly transferred as payment to Augur before being brought to Council for consideration. The Committee noted that at the time the Augur deal started the then Caretaker Commission appointed by Chombo was illegal.
“It was noted that there was personal interest and conflict of interest on the part of the Chairperson of the illegal Caretaker Council (M. Mahachi) as confirmed from documentation on meetings held at Augur.
Also, the file for stand 19673 allocated to Augur’s Electro Company vanished into thin air whilst some of the files provided to this committee had most of the information pulled out to dupe the investigation team.
“All meetings of Airport Road project were held at Augur’s Milton Park Offices, Ministry of Local Government, and Classic Offices without informing Council. The Chamber Secretary was advised not to be involved in the Airport Road project by the Minister (I.Chombo) but her subordinate, (Chief Legal Officer) was to be the Council’s legal representative in the project.
It boggles the mind to note that House Number 62 Quorn Avenue Mount Pleasant, connects Minister Chombo with Augur Investments and this is where they held ALL their meetings, to partition Harare’s prime land amongst themelves. Harvest-Net Enterprises, an Investment Vehicle of the Minister gave its address in its Annual Returns as its Registered Offices. In the Memorandum of Agreement between City of Harare and Augur Investments, Augur gave the same 62 Quorn as its Zimbabwean registered offices.
“It remains disturbing to note that the Minister (Dr Chombo) would identify pieces of land in the City, influence Council Officials to apply to him (Chombo) for Change of land use, and then sit over the same applications and approve the changes. He would then write to Council officials asking to buy the same stands and obviously get them. Land reserved for recreational activities would end up having Title Deeds in his company’s name. A case in point is Stand 61 Hellensvale Harare, measuring almost 20 hectares. According to the Advice of Payment the Minister paid $2 300 for this stand,” reads the report..
Currently Sharpe is believed to be hiding in Mauritius with his confidante of Russian origin Tatiana Aleshina aka Tanya doing most of the business on his behalf.
The self exiled Sharpe faces a litany of charges ranging from money laundering and corruption emanating from land deals.
His companies which include Augur Investments OU, West Properties and Sunshine Development are under litigation
He has not set foot in the country since 2017 and is on the anti-corruption unit wanted list.