Ministry boss up for US$1.2m land fraud

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested Mlindeli Sayi, a director in the local government ministry, for alleged abuse of office and fraud involving 50 urban stands valued at US$1,2 million.

According to a ZACC memo, on June 7, 2007, the local governance ministry entered into a Tripartite Partnership agreement with local developers Sally Mugabe Housing Co-operative and Arosume Development for the development of 154 residential stands in Carrick Creagh.

Clause 2.3 of the 2007 Tripartite Agreement stated that if the beneficiaries failed to pay the developers, the Ministry of Local Government would provide the developers with 50 stands as collateral.

A land valuation conducted by the ministry of local government in 2009 valued the 50 stands at US$1,193,000.

ZACC investigations revealed that, despite the fact that some housing beneficiaries had fully paid the developers’ development fees, Sayi fraudulently authorised Arosume Property Developers to sell the 50 stands set aside as collateral.

“In October 2022, after Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission had commenced investigations into the issue of the stands and after inquiries had been made with the Ministry of Local Government in relation to accountability for the 50 stands and proof for their payment, the accused (Sayi) as the Director State Land charged with the responsibility of ensuring proper disposal of state land and in a bid to show favour to Arosume Property Developers and to cover up for the improper disposal of the 50 stands, corruptly wrote to Arosume Property Developers instructing them to pay the land intrinsic value for the 50 stands at a total value of ZW$1 193,000.00 instead of US$1,193,000.00 or the equivalent rate of the day.

“Investigations established that the accused person was supposed to pay ZW$789,241,676.50 but instead paid ZW$1,193,000.00 thereby causing an actual prejudice of ZW$788,048,676.50,” read parts of the ZACC memo.

According to the ZACC memo, the official exchange rate on December 13, 2022, when the 50 stands were sold, was US$1 – ZW$661.56.

Sayi appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts last Wednesday and was granted ZW$150,000 bail.

He was further ordered to continue residing at his given address, does not interfere with witnesses, and report to the nearest police station once a month.

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