Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
A recent audit carried out by an investigations team set up by Harare City Council to look into the sale and lease of commercial land has revealed that the local authority had no credible land bank and database of sold properties over the past three years.
According to the report by the special investigations committee chairperson Clr Charles Nyatsuro, council does not have a credible land bank and therefore cannot produce comprehensive land management plans, thereby leaving room for leakages.
The committee recommended that an external real estate company compiles a land bank for the city.
“To ensure that leakages and gaps are closed, council resolved that an external real estate company be hired to investigate and compile a land bank for the city and that the land bank be computerised,” read recent minutes.
The acting finance director Mr Stanley Ndemera was directed to develop key result areas and the implementation framework to do with issues raised in the report including skills deficiencies in his department within the next 60 days.
The report also highlighted that there was no compliance with procedures for commercial land planning and allocation. The procedures were not consistently followed.
In terms of lease rentals and sale of commercial land, there was no reliable and admissible database of leases. A total of non-performing leases had been noted and no meaningful action had been taken to recover outstanding lease rentals.
There was no reliable information regarding debts and payment of lease rentals and most of them were being levied rentals which were below market rates, stated the report.