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    Friday, 23 November 2018

    67 civil servants lose $600 000 to land baron

    •   Commission worry over SSB involvement


    MASVINGO – Sixty-seven civil servants from Masvingo who are members of the Zimbabwe Agricultural, Professional and Technical Association (ZAPTA) are feared to have lost more than $600 000 after they bought stands from a private land developer at the Victoria Ranch in Masvingo  but the developer has since become elusive.
    The case sucked in Chirumhanzu MP Innocent Pedzisai Munanzvi who earlier claimed to the Commission to be the son of the late Zimbabwe national hero, Leopold Takawira.
    The sour deal was disclosed during a hearing conducted by the Commission of Inquiry on the sale of State land in and around urban areas held at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel near Masvingo recently.
    Commission chairperson, Justice Tendai Uchena was so touched by the plight of the civil servants who include teachers, a bulk of them from rural areas like Mwenezi and Malipati that he subpoenaed the Provincial Administrator Fungai Mbetsa and asked him to do something to help the desparate ZAPTA members.
     The Commission was told that the said land developer led by three men only identified as Vhinyu, Chipato and Chaputsira has changed names three times from National Housing Properties Trust to  Platinum Homes and now Savanna Land Developers and the offices at the Masvingo Show Grounds have since been closed.
    Justice Uchena said that it was disheartening that poor civil servants, some from remote rural areas like Mwenezi and Chiredzi paid $9 000 for residential stands in Masvingo but have received nothing.
    What particularly disturbed Commissioner Uchena is that payments for the stands are being made through stop orders with the Salaries Service Bureau (SSB) and he said the fact that SSB was involved gave credence to home seekers that the scheme was genuine.
    “It is very disheartening that poor civil servants from such remote areas are paying for stands that are not there. They have been paying for the last six years and they have nothing to show for it and it appears they don’t know where to go with their problem,” said Commissioner Uchena.
    ZAPTA vice chairperson Julius Vomo said that his organisation agreed with Savannah to supply stands to 67 members who are all civil servants based in Masvingo Province.  The agreement was struck in 2012 and members then signed individual contracts with the land developer and have since then been paying towards the stands in instalments.
    The contract required the land developer to show the buyer his or her stand once 50% of the price was paid. The Commission heard that all the buyers have either paid 50% or finished paying the debts amounting to $9 000 per stand.
    “The problem came when our members demanded to see their stands. That is when we were shown some stands but when we got there we discovered that the stands were already allocated to some other people. We pursued the matter and we were then told that Savannah had bought the stands from one Mupedzi and that Mupedzi had in turn bought the stands from Honourable MP for Chirumanzu, Innocent Pezisayi Munanzvi.
    “We were later told that there were disagreements between Mupedzi and Pedzisayi and that Pedzisayi had since sold the stands to some other home seekers.
    “Most of our members have paid for their stands in full and we now want our lawyer to engage this developer who has become evasive. At one time we thought about stopping further payments but we realised that we could lose everything as we could be found to be in breach of the contract.
    “There is also another man involved in these stands called Nyathi. 
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