By Edmund Chiyangwa
I write in response to numerous newspaper and social media hypes regarding the Farm Odar, Nyarungu Estate and Subdivision A of Stoneridge which have been turned into vilification of my father, the Chairman of the Pinnacle Group, Hon Dr. P Chiyangwa.
In terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23), a public officer is defined as;
(a) a Vice President, Minister or Deputy Minister; or
(b) a governor appointed in terms of an Act referred to in section 111A of the Constitution; or
(c) a member of a council, board, committee or other authority which is a statutory body or local authority or which is responsible for administering the affairs or business of a statutory body or local authority; or
(d) a person holding or acting in a paid office in the service of the State, a statutory body or a local authority; or
(e) a judicial officer;”
To put the record straight let me delve into the real detail of these properties
It’s a case wherein we owned the farms which the State acquired and compensated us with the same.
The question that should be answered on the outset is, who was prejudiced here?
The State never compensated us, infact failed to compensate us for the farms and decided to return them to us to deal with the illegal settlers – settled by the State- in order for us to get compensated.
During the Land Commission hearings, inspite of my fathers poor health status, I urged him to go and make representations on behalf of the Group, and he was ably supported by our legal counsel, the entire submissions were carried not by the report.
The facts on the properties are as follows;-
1 Phillip Chiyangwa Family Trust is the beneficial owner of various companies which acquired several properties namely:
1. Odar Farm (Sensene Investments Private Limited through a structured vehicle sold through Tetrad Bank).
2. Subdivision ‘A’ of Stoneridge from Mr and Mrs Evans.
3. Nyarungu Estate from Mr Simba Mangwende.
All three properties were legitimately acquired by the Pinnacle Group, from the time of their acquisition there were various unsuccessful and unlawful attempts by the State to acquire same. This led to litigation up to the Constitutional Court.
The Pinnacle Group has settlement agreements with the State as well as Court Orders and holds title deeds which confirm ownership of the properties. The State was at all times represented by the Attorney Generals office in negotiations and in court proceedings.
But this has not been an easy journey in complicating our lives and in a way a fully-fledged disempowerment agenda as we have faced Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZACC and other Government investigations just to establish if indeed we own the properties.
Yes indeed they are owned by blacks and in an urban area, surely may the good Lord have mercy on us, on the highly misplaced misinterpretation of what is simply land belonging to blacks that shouldn’t attract so much hullaballoo.
The report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of State Land in Urban Areas implicates our trust companies and Group Chairman – Hon. Dr Phillip Chiyangwa as being responsible for a number of illegal actions in respect of certain pieces of land. The conclusions reached are damaging especially considering that we have previously been interviewed by the Commission and have prepared several dossiers proving our ownership prior to Government acquisition, and that the state compensated us by returning our land.
However, it seems necessary yet again to present evidence which excuses our companies from the allegations of illegality being levelled by the Commission. We shall deal with the salient facts of each piece of land in turn vis vis the allegations made.
Remainder of Subdivision A of Stoneridge Farm
It is alleged that Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd is committing fraud by demanding payment from residents settled on this piece of land. Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd was the beneficial owner of a certain piece of land in the District of Salisbury called Remainder of Subdivision A of Stoneridge measuring 586,8960 Hectares held under Deed of Transfer 5021/2007 issued on the 23 rd of August 2007.
2 On the 5 th of February 2015 the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing entered into a memorandum of agreement with Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd as the former had an interest in protecting citizens who had occupied the latter’s property.
The terms of the agreement were to the effect that Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd would be fully compensated for the acquisition of its land by the provision of alternative land of the same size if such land was in Harare and if such land was outside of Harare, the land would be equivalent to the agreed value of the acquired land. The agreement was also canonized in a deed of settlement before the Supreme Court in case number SC 294/11.
Pursuant to this arrangement the Government of Zimbabwe and Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd entered into another agreement wherein the latter was allocated 74,5135 Hectares on the property known as Subdivision A of Stoneridge, a section known as ‘Amalish’ which was occupied land and 512,3825 Hectares on the property known as Tantallon. Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd was to take title in the two properties and be the sole and exclusive developer of the two properties.
An attempt was made to cancel the agreement through a letter dated 2 June 2017, but such an attempt was thwarted through a consent order per Hon. MUNANGATI-MANONGWA J on the 16 th of May 2018.
Resultantly, the land known as ‘Amalish’ belongs to Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd which is also the exclusive developer. As such Pinnacle Property Holdings (Pvt) Ltd is entitled at law to claim whatever amounts it deems necessary for the completion of the development process which its agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe mandates it to undertake.
Therefore, the allegations of fraud are not only misplaced but are entirely wrong and can be construed as defamation of character which the commission is liable for if it fails to retract the baseless allegations.
This property is wholly owned by Sensene Investments (Pvt) Ltd by virtue of Deed of Transfer No. 2897/2015. The commission’s recommendations are erroneous to the extent that the ownership of the land by Sensene Investments (Pvt) Ltd is such that Sensene Investments (Pvt) Ltd has real rights over the property which are enforceable against the whole world.
Previous attempts to cancel the title deed have been unsuccessful and will continue to be unsuccessful as the Government of Zimbabwe has since been barred from any attempts to do so per the court order by Hon. TAGU J in case number HC 7750/16. As such there is no legal route to challenge the court order as there was no appeal against it in the Supreme Court.
3 My company’s activities at Odar Farm are legitimate and in fulfilment of the Government of Zimbabwe’s agreement with Zimbabwe Tobacco Association dated 9 April 2015. The agreement names Sensene Investments (Pvt) Ltd as the sole and exclusive developer of the land and allows it to dispose of stands from the land and obtain compensation directly from the occupants, beneficiaries and/or purchasers of the stands. This is further buttressed by TAGU J’s court order which remains extant.
Therefore, the conclusions and recommendations of the commission are wrong at law and have the effect of encouraging the unlawful deprivation of land which rightly belongs to the. The recommendations are in fact a criminality and it is my prayer that they be withdrawn as they will bring about more confusion and unnecessary litigation.
This property is wholly owned by Jetmaster Properties (Pvt) Ltd by virtue of Deed of Transfer No. 2808/2015. The Commission’s recommendations are erroneous to the extent that the ownership of the land by Jetmaster Properties (Pvt) Ltd was facilitated by bribery and corruption.
It is common knowledge that Jetmaster Properties (Pvt) Ltd has owned the property since 1995 and we purchased the property from Mr Simba Mangwende in 2006.
Our activities at Nyarungu Farm are legitimate and in fulfilment of the Government of Zimbabwe’s agreement with Jetmaster Properties (Pvt) Ltd dated 9 April 2015. The agreement names Jetmaster Properties (Pvt) Ltd as the sole and exclusive developer of the land and allows it to move the settlers at Nyarungu to Subdivision A of Stoneridge to enable the development of an industrial hub for Harare South.
Therefore, as with the above properties, the conclusions and recommendations of the commission are wrong at law and have the effect of encouraging the unlawful deprivation of land which rightly belongs to us. The recommendations are in fact a criminality and it is my prayer that they be withdrawn as they will bring about more confusion and unnecessary litigation.
WE ARE NOT A BENEFICIARY OF ANY STATE LAND!
It is our hope and belief that this press statement has set the record straight.
Mr Edmund Chiyangwa GROUP CEO
NB: Find the submissions made by our lawyers to the Land Commission