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Zanu PF linked land baron Fredrick Mabamba collapses, dies in prison

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |

Zanu PF linked land baron Fredrick Mabamba has collapsed and died while in remand at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. One of his close aides who preferred anonymity confirmed his death.

Businessman and former Chitungwiza Ward 25 councillor Fredrick Mabamba
Land baron and former Chitungwiza Ward 25 councillor Fredrick Mabamba

“Yes, it is true that Mabamba has died. He collapsed at remand prison and was rushed to Parirenyatwa (group of Hospitals) where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” said the aide.

Mabamba of United Westand Housing Cooperative, who owned at least half of Chitungwiza, collapsed on Friday afternoon, rushed to a local hospital and reportedly died upon arrival.

He was arrested by the anti-corruption hawks last month, over illegal parcelling of state land.

Mabamba had previously been arrested six times without conviction. Analysts argued he has been untouchable, allegedly getting protection from the late former president Robert Mugabe and acquired most of the land during his tenure as Chitungwiza Deputy Mayor in the early 2000s.

At the time of death, the former Chitungwiza Ward 25 councillor was in jail facing charges of allegations of parcelling out pieces of land worth US$13 724 000 and nearly $875 billion belonging to Chitungwiza Municipality.

In September 2015, the businessman was arrested for allegedly selling State and council land to home-seekers. He was arrested after more than 50 land barons had appeared in court over allegations of selling State and council land in Harare.

In that case, it is reported that one of the victims, a Chitungwiza woman (name withheld) who was duped of eight residential stands worth over US$34 000.

She reported the case to police, leading to Mabamba’s arrest.

Sneak peak into Mabamba land baron allegations

In May 2014, the then Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo dismissed Mabamba from council after he was convicted of gross mismanagement of council affairs by a disciplinary tribunal.

Mabamba’s dismissal was recommended by a board of enquiry in terms of Section 114 (i) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).

In December 2015 again, a record of 322 State witnesses were lined up to testify in the US$8 million fraud trial of former councillor, Mabamba, which was to start in February 2016.

On 23 January 2016, Mabamba faced arrest for allegedly selling State land meant for a school to more than 120 home-seekers in Chitungwiza.

The home seekers alleged that Mabamba pocketed more than US$500 000, although he did not pay for the land in question and now Chitungwiza Municipality was demanding US$1 500 from residents to regularise their stay.

In April 2018, Mabamba appeared before Chitungwiza magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso facing two counts of fraud involving close to US$19 000 after he allegedly duped some home seekers.

On the other count, he is jointly charged with Gabriel Maphosa (46) over illegal parcelling of land.

In January 2020, Mabamba was picked up by officers from Zacc on charges of illicit land deals. 

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