Home Affairs Secretary Gerald Gwinji Sucked In Property Dispute
4 May 2023
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HOME Affairs Permanent Secretary, Dr Gerald Gwinji, has been sucked into a property dispute between Arosume Property Development (Arosume) and Louisa Kalenga-Bandal amid reports of spirited attempts to summon his Local Government and Public Works Ministry counterpart, Zvinechimwe Churu “for interviews”.

This comes as the Harare-based realtor has been battling several parties accused of using “political influence to make undue demands and ludicrous allegations” against it, including claims that it had “annexed 14 stands in Carrick Creagh when they had been repossessed by the Government in October 2022”.

The company has also been complaining about the continued harassment of its officers by law enforcement agencies on incomplete investigations.

“We act for Arosume… in partnership with the Government through a Public Private
Partnership (PPP), which is dated June 2007 and still subsists. We are instructed to…
lodge this extraordinary complaint against the unfair meddling and potentially unlawful
conduct of… Gwinji in the administration of the tripartite agreement,” Jiti Law Chambers
said in a May 02 letter to Churu, adding the land dispute “did not fall in the Home Affairs
Secretary’s mandate.

Jiti argued Gwinji ought to have directed his requests to the Local Government
secretary’s superiors”.

“It has come to our attention that on the 16th of March 2023… addressed a letter (to his
peer) on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department’s commercial crimes division
northern region… to interview you. That alone is bizarre,” it said.

While Arosume and its lawyers insist that any moves to obtain information about the PPP or interrogate senior Local Government Ministry officials ought to be sanctioned by the Public Service Commission or top bureaucrats like Cabinet Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda, the letter should have been alternatively directed – and under ordinary circumstances – to Minister July Moyo.

According to Gwinji’s dossier, he claims “Ms Kalenga-Bandal had been the “permanent
owner and beneficiary of stand number 313 under the Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative
(SMHC)”, which was meant to benefit civil servants.

“In 2004, stand number 313 did not exist at law because the subdivision was only
approved by the surveyor general on the 25th of January 2008. At no point in 2004 was
SMHC… empowered/entitled to allocate Borrowdale land,” the lawyers said, adding the
Home Affairs secretary’s “requests for certain documents in a bid to aid the
complainant’s case in an ongoing civil case and litigation was quite worrying”.

“… Gwinji has no power or authority to (directly or indirectly) allocate state land, which is administered by another ministry. Having been a secretary for a while this is known to him and, as such, his attempt to assert falsely that… Bandal was ‘permanently allocated’ is improper and could only be motivated by either a corrupt intent or gross incompetence on his part. Either way, we believe that his conduct is worth your investigative attention,” they said in the latter also copied to the Commissioner-General Police (CGP) Godwin Matanga and Daniel Garwe’s National Housing Ministry.

Crucially, the former Health Ministry secretary’s actions not only risked undermining the tripartite agreement and related investment policies, but he had “no power to revise cabinet decisions regarding the sale/allocation of state land and he must give a reasonable explanation for his acts of insubordination”.

“… Gwinji also has no authority at all to involve himself in the operational command of the police, in particular, to direct how any investigation must be conducted. His attempt to usurp the powers of the CGP is potentially in violation of Section 174 of the Criminal Code,” Arosume said in the letter.

And the company has not only sought to refute the Home Affairs Secretary, and Kalenga-Bandal’s claims to the land on the basis that the farm – underpinning SMHC – was only gazetted for compulsory acquisition in 2006, but stand 313 of Carrick Creagh, Borrowdale has interestingly, if not bizarrely, turned up as one of those owned and listed under Simba Chikore and Bona Mugabe’s divorce proceedings.

Gwinji could not be reached for a comment.

-Business Weekly