Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Ken Sharpe accuses Tendai Biti of spreading malice against his company

Harare land development company West Properties Zimbabwe has accused former Finance Minister Tendai Biti of spreading a series of malicious attacks against them over land they acquired in Harare via a “corrupt rampage.”

Early this month Biti implicated West Properties Zimbabwe owner Ken Sharpe in what he said was the greatest land heist in the history of post- independent Zimbabwe.

The company however accused Biti of lying that it received 200 000 hectares of land from the City of Harare. West Properties said the claims were false adding that Harare as a whole only had 94 000 hectares.

“We make reference to grossly misleading media reports that have repeated, without due journalistic consideration, false and inflammatory remarks by Mr. Tendai Biti, the Honourable Member of Parliament representing Harare East.

“In addition to having no basis in truth, these claims are also cruel and ill-intentioned.

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“For instance, Mr. Biti claimed that the City of Harare extended to Mr. Kenneth Raydon Sharpe in excess of 200,000 hectares of land,” read a statement by the company’s public relations consultant Michael Chideme.

West Properties Zimbabwe owner Ken Sharpe
West Properties Zimbabwe owner Ken Sharpe

Chideme is coincidentally a former spokesman for the City of Harare.

He proceeded to say the claims by Biti were “among several outrageous falsehoods cooked up to stir up negative public sentiment.”

“The claim is preposterous hyperbole and should not have escaped editorial scrutiny. Harare is only 94,000 hectares, a fact which exposes the claim as a malicious lie concocted by a clumsy imagination.

“The actual land size in question is 270 hectares. Mr. Biti proceeded to accuse Mr. Sharpe of the largest land theft in Zimbabwe since the country’s independence from white settler rule, despite knowing that the accusation was false.

“The incendiary language had racial overtones and was intended to generate a negative public opinion of Mr. Sharpe. Regrettably, these remarks have been repeatedly published despite their obviously fictitious foundation.”

The company claims that Biti misrepresented facts surrounding Augur Investments’ dispute with the City of Harare, suggesting that it had been plundered of land in a corrupt rampage masterminded by Sharpe.

But Chideme said: “The City of Harare fulfilled its legal obligations to Augur Investments, as mandated by the courts following a contractual dispute between the parties.

“The dispute arose after several contractual violations related to the city’s failure to fulfill its obligations in a timely and competent manner.

“These egregious failures are documented in court-accessible public records and are not contested by the City of Harare.

“Specifically, these failures involve the tendering of unzoned land unfit for the stated purpose of commercial development. This unzoned land was irresponsibly given as consideration in a commercial transaction which Augur entered into in good faith.

“Instead of swiftly resolving these failings to allow work to proceed as planned, the City of Harare took an inordinate amount of time to take remedial action.

“Instead of recognising Augur’s good faith in trying to salvage the agreement, by not enforcing its rights, despite several material and egregious violations, the city shockingly sought to prejudice the company by holding it responsible for failures the city had itself occasioned. Accordingly, Augur exercised its rights in a firm response.

“This is a straightforward contractual dispute that has been litigated to its natural conclusion, having been settled by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.

“Instead of casting casual aspersions to support his ludicrous claims of plunder by corruption, Mr. Biti should present a coherent explication of his objections to the manner in which the judiciary handled this matter.

“He has none,” Chideme said.

He added that Biti “cannot purport to contest the findings and determinations of the High Court and Supreme Court, as expressed in HC 425/21 and SC 229/22, without providing specific objections to those rulings, which upheld our title to the Pomona property in question.

The Supreme Court’s ruling against Mr. Biti’s clients was unequivocal.”

The company further accused Biti of just generating fake news against it. One of its officials, Russian national Tatiana Aleshina accused Biti of verbally abusing her and the issue is still in the courts.

“They said that his objective was to divert public attention away from his unacceptable behaviour toward our executive, Tatiana Aleshina, whom he verbally abused without provocation in November 2020 at the Harare Magistrates’ Court,” read the statement.

Biti’s phone was not available during the time of writing as his phone went unanswered.

Last year in August Biti took to Twitter and wrote; “Kenneth Roydon Sharpe is a crook who has illegally got over 2000 hectares of land in Harare. He is subject of litigation by CSOs to try and reverse the fraud. He is also building on wetlands thus endangering Harare water supplies. @forbesafrica surely did not grant him an award?

In September 2021, Biti followed that up with another statement tweeting;

“The desperate actions of Kenneth Sharpe and Augur Investments will not erase the truth that they looted thousands of hectares of land from the city of Harare under the airport agreement land was transferred to Augur but it never performed. Government took over the project.”

Sharpe responded by dragging Biti to the High Court and demanding one million United States dollars as compensation for what he deemed highly defamatory remarks.