Damning Report Exposes Chombo, Ken Sharpe’s 63-Day Grand Land Heist
17 August 2021
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BY A CORRESPONDENT| An earth shattering report on the work of a caretaker council appointed in 2008 to run the City of Harare has exposed former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s 63 days of personal enrichment programme smartly executed without the oversight of elected councilors.

Chombo is currently facing charges of corruption and abuse of office following his arrest during the November 2017 military assisted coup which toppled long time ruler Robert Mugabe from power.

former Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo

The report titled Sixty-Three Days, exposes how the Chombo’s appointed caretaker council made up of three people Michael Mahachi, A J Tome and one L Marufu from the very first of its appointment started dishing out contracts to Augur Investments OU, a company owned by Kenneth Raydon Sharpe who is currently at large.

In its 63 days of existence, the Mahachi caretaker council also flouted employment procedures to recruit 742 employees some of whom are still a burden to the municipality.

The caretaker council gave in to Chombo’s application for a commercial stand in Avondale as well as 19 hectares which he applied to build cluster houses.

“The Caretaker Council’s lifespan lasted for sixty-three days. In those sixty three days the Council awarded an USD80 million project to Augur Investments OU without going to tender, employed 742 persons to the city council without advertising for such posts, and approved the sale of two properties in prime areas of Harare to Minister Chombo without going to tender among other resolutions,” reads the report.

Kenneth Raydon Sharpe, the man at the centre of the controversial land transfer

The detailed report further exposed how the caretaker council on the second day after its appointment signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Augur Investments before an independent valuation of the Airport Road project could be made.

The agreement with Augur Investments OU was signed without council approval as should be the case.

“The Harare Caretaker Council Chairman Mr M Mahachi formally received his letter of appointment on 21st of May 2008. On the same day, he signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Augur Investments OU on the Airport Road Project. Minister Chombo signed the MOU as a witness.

“On the 28th May 2008, Mr Mahachi chaired a Council meeting which approved the signing of the MOU in retrospect.

“The following day, the 29th May 2008, before the independent valuation of the project and land could be carried out, Mr M Mahachi signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Augur Investments OU wherein Augur Investments OU was to undertake the construction of the Airport Road in exchange for land,” further reads the report.

The report raised worry at the pace at which the Chombo appointed caretaker council carried out its business saying it suggested a deliberate programme of action to achieve certain results before elected councillors were sworn in.

“The frantic pace with which the Caretaker Council carried out its business suggested that there was a deliberate programme of action which was designed to achieve certain results before swearing in of the newly elected councillors,” the report noted.