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Mbudzi Traffic Interchange Fund Looted | Report

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has reportedly questioned several directors at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development over alleged fraudulent activities linked to Mbudzi Traffic Interchange project funds.

According to Zimbabwe Independent, the officials were quizzed by ZACC after whistle-blowers leaked details linking them to the “pillage” of a fund meant to compensate owners of companies and houses who were moved to pave the way for the construction of the traffic interchange.

More officials from the Ministry are expected to be questioned by ZACC in the coming weeks.

Ministry of Local Government and Public Works officials and bosses at two of Zimbabwe’s leading real estate agencies, which made valuations of the affected properties are reportedly set to be quizzed in the ongoing investigations as well.

The Zimbabwe Independent could not establish the extent of the alleged fraud, but it reported sources as saying those involved manipulated figures to inflate the value of properties, which would end with property owners and corrupt officials sharing looted funds. Said a source:

ZACC summoned some directors amid allegations that some owners of properties at the Mbudzi Interchange had their properties overvalued.

The memorandum (containing overvalued properties) was reportedly signed by (a senior official in the ministry whose name was given to the Independent).

ZACC is in the process of conducting interviews with different officials from the Ministry of Transport.

Some officials based at Compensation House have also been interviewed. It is a hot topic within government.

It was estimated last year that up to US$35 million would be paid out to about 130 affected companies and residential properties to help them relocate and restart elsewhere.

Officials who spoke to the publication claimed that of this figure, US$12 million could have been paid out to 52 affected individuals and businesses by the end of 2023.

By Thursday night, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona had not responded to questions sent to his office on Tuesday.

ZACC spokesperson Thandiwe Mlobane confirmed that the investigations were underway, but could not disclose full details. She said:

The investigations are still in their early stages. Commenting now may be prejudicial to the investigations.

The US$88 million Mbudzi interchange is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze Road, Chitungwiza Road and High Glen Road in Harare.

Funding for the project is being done through local financial institutions, while the contractor for the project is a joint venture of three local road construction companies: Tensor Systems, Fossil Contracting and Masimba Construction, collectively coming under the banner of Tefoma Construction joint venture.

When complete, the interchange will have 13 bridges and 15 kilometres of interchange and service outlets.

This is expected to eliminate congestion at the point where two major highways meet the Beitbridge-Harare national highway.

Source ZiMetro

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