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Govt official arrested for fraud involving 50 stands valued at US$1,2 million

A director in the local government ministry, Mlindeli Sayi, was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on suspicion of misconduct and theft involving 50 urban stands worth US$1.2 million.

It is ZACC’s case that on June 7, 2007, the local governance ministry entered into a Tripartite Partnership agreement for the construction of 154 residential stands in Carrick Creagh with local developers Sally Mugabe Housing Co-operative and Arosume Development.

The Ministry of Local Government was required to give the developers 50 stands as collateral under Clause 2.3 of the 2007 Tripartite Agreement if the beneficiaries failed to make payments to the developers.

The 50 stands were valued at US$1,193,000 in a land valuation done by the ministry of local government in 2009.

According to ZACC investigations, Sayi fraudulently gave Arosume Property Developers permission to sell the 50 stands put aside as collateral even though some housing beneficiaries had settled the developers’ development fees in full.

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“In October 2022, after Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission had commenced investigations into the issue of the stands and after inquiries had been made with the Ministry of Local Government in relation to accountability for the 50 stands and proof for their payment, the accused (Sayi) as the Director State Land charged with the responsibility of ensuring proper disposal of state land and in a bid to show favour to Arosume Property Developers and to cover up for the improper disposal of the 50 stands, corruptly wrote to Arosume Property Developers instructing them to pay the land intrinsic value for the 50 stands at a total value of ZW$1 193,000.00.

“Investigations established that the accused person was supposed to pay ZW$789,241,676.50 but instead paid ZW$1,193,000.00 thereby causing an actual prejudice of ZW$788,048,676.50,” read parts of the ZACC memo.

The formal exchange rate on December 13, 2022, when the 50 stands were sold, was US$1 – ZW$661.56, according to the ZACC memo.

Sayi made an appearance last Wednesday at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts and was granted ZW150,000 bail.