FORMER Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and some top city managers have once again been sucked into another scam involving the illegal parcelling of land in the capital.
This comes as anti-corruption bodies and the police have been investigating several councillors in the MDC-A controlled municipality that has become a source of ill-gotten income for the opposition party while delivering a raw deal to ratepayers.
Head of planning for council Mrs Priscilla Charumbira also allegedly abused her position by conniving with some councillors, including Gomba, to change land use for open spaces and wetlands.
According to documents at hand, in 2016 Gomba and Mrs Charumbira presided over the illegal allocation of land to a wholesaler (name supplied) on a recreational facility along Seke Road.
Due procedures of change of use according to the Regional Town and Country Planning Act, Section 49 (3) from an open space to commercial use were not followed.
Council officials advertised the piece of land in the newspapers, but the plan and the information that was provided in the advertisement did not tally, as the plan TP/CR/19/16 was described as a commercial stand when it was in fact an open space.
After allocating the recreational stand to the wholesaler, the same team allocated another open space along Seke Road to the SPCA without following laid down procedures.
Later, Gomba working with Mrs Charumbira and the director of works, Mr Zvenyika Chawatama, oversaw another unprocedural allocation of a wetland for the construction of a library in the suburb of Glen Norah by tampering with the initial layout plans.
This was part of a grand plan to fund Gomba’s campaign for Ward 27 council elections under the MDC-A ticket.
“The syndicate knew that it was an open space, but they went ahead with the allocation without going through the fully laid down procedure which they were very much aware of,” read the documents in part.
The trio also approved the construction of two service stations along Bulawayo Road, one opposite Harare Showgrounds another on an open space that was meant for residential flats.
Documents show that the trio had a runner who they used in setting up the procedures and planning of the two service stations.
Using her influence Mrs Charumbira allocated herself two acres of land at corner High Glen and Gleneagles Road despite the fact that the land was reserved as an open space by the local authority.
According to the laws of the council, one has to apply for the change of use for such areas if they wish to use it for what it is not earmarked for.
Contacted for comment, Mrs Charumbira referred all the questions to the corporate communications department for response.
“I am not allowed to comment if the questions are not coming through the communications department. Please forward all your questions to the department then we will respond,” she said.
Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme had not responded to questions sent to him.
MDC-A leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has been sucked into the latest swirl of residential stands allocation scam in the capital city, amid revelations that the opposition has been stripping the council of land to finance its subversive intentions and prepare for the 2023 harmonised elections.
Already, over a dozen Harare City Council officials, including Gomba, human resources and former housing director Matthew Marara, the city’s town planner Samuel Nyabeze and surveyor Munyaradzi Bowa have been arrested on a string of allegations that include criminal abuse of office and corruption.