Former First Lady Grace Mugabe and some of her relatives and allies are being stripped of 14 stands worth almost US$12,6 million in one of Borrowdale, Harare’s most upscale developments on the grounds that they acquired the land for next to nothing by abusing their connections with the then-Government.
The 14 stands in Carrick Creagh, a posh Harare suburb east of Borrowdale Brooke, cover 167 997 square metres, or about 17 hectares, and at US$75 a square metre, they are worth US$12 599 775. According to corporate records, Mrs. Mugabe held four neighboring stands totalling 7,36ha through front companies Montshow Private Limited and Navline Investments Private Limited, where her children are directors. At US$75 a square metre, this land should have cost US$5 525 550, yet she paid nearly nothing. Because the housing scheme is a Public Private Partnership between the government and a private developer on state land, she and the other 10 landowners, four of whom used businesses, were permitted to enter without paying the purchase price.
They used a former minister with corruption charges from land deals and stand allocations. The ex-girlfriend minister’s was also involved in Carrick Creagh. Mrs. Mugabe utilized State House personnel to allocate stands, then used her firms to acquire formal ownership. Now Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo wants the corruptly acquired land recovered and the title deeds canceled. He stated his intention and gave the required notice in the Government Gazette on Friday last week and is publishing weekly press advertisements for three weeks to solicit objections.
Section 18(1)(b) of the Deeds Registries Act authorizes Minister Moyo to invalidate the deed for any land “in respect of which the State has the authority to claim transfer”. The land was handed away for free, triggering the right. The Act requires calling for objections and studying them before canceling. In these situations, section 308(3) of the Constitution mandates the minister to act. “Every person who has custody or control of public property must safeguard the property and guarantee that it is not lost, destroyed, damaged, misapplied or misused,” the provision states.
Mrs. Mugabe has four of the 14 largest stands. Montshow Investments (Private) Limited registered stand 306 (18 034 square metres) and stand 307 (25 133 square metres). Navline Investments (Private) Limited owned stands 308 and 309, 13 733 and 16 744 square metres, respectively. This 73 674-square-metre block of four stands should have cost US$5 525 550. Mrs. Mugabe received the vast block for a little fee.
The other 10 stands were transferred as follows: stand 96 of 9 592 square metres to Timothy Mubhawu; stand 172 of 4 000 square metres to Lazarus Dagwa Kambarami Dokora; stand 195 of 3 971 square metres to Comverol Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd; stand 196 of 4 039 square metres to Cavord Trading; stand 269 of 13 857 square metres to Gloryboost Investments; stand 300 of 12 384 square metres to Taruvinga Hamura; and stand 91 of 8 003 square metres to Olivia Farai Ma. Mr. Munyaradzi Bwanya, the developer’s lawyer, addressed any inquiries to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.