Augur Investments through its chief operations officer Tatiana Aleshina has implicated President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the land dispute in which the City of Harare entered into agreement with the company.
In a sworn affidavit before the High Court in response to Harare North legislator Norman Markham, Savings Scheme and Jacob Pikicha High Court application (case number HC 425/21) seeking reversal of the agreement, Aleshina implicated the President, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and legal affairs Permanent Secretary Ms Virginia Mabhiza.
“During the Supreme Court proceedings and in the spirit of trying to reach a settlement, I accompanied the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government to a meeting with the Head of State during which it was agreed that the parties should try and settle their differences as an out of court settlement.
“The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government thereafter called a meeting of the City of Harare officials, that is, the Town Clerk Abraham Chisango and the Mayor Councilor Herbert Gomba. There were also other Ministry and City officials. It was agreed that parties would try to negotiate a mutually agreed Deed of Settlement.” said Aleshina
She said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission had cleared Augur Investments and Kenneth Raydon Sharpe of any wrongdoing.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission absolved 1st respondent, 2nd respondent and myself of any wrongdoing. The case never went to court and therefore the statements are irrelevant and must be expunged from the record.
“Augur Investments went on to write to the Secretary of the Land Commission Ms Virginia Mabhiza advising that the Anti-Corruption Commission had been to see us and enquiring what the issues were. Full disclosure on the land bank was made. The Commission was requested to conduct an enquiry they needed to assist 1st respondent, 2nd respondent and I to clear our names. To date they have not found any wrongdoing with Augur Investments. 1st respondent, 2nd respondent and I are not even implicated in the Uchena land commission report on illegal parceling of state land.” Aleshina said.
She said Stand 654 Pomona Township, is registered in the name of Doorex Properties (7th applicant) and has since been subdivided into 1 120 individual stands.
Aleshina said the third applicant, Jacob Pikicha describes himself as an unemployed housing land activist who is homeless or a squatter.
“He is both landless and jobless. His prospects of buying land in an area like Borrowdale are virtually nil. He has no real and substantial interest in the present litigation. The rules require that leave of the court be obtained for the issue of any civil process which may be sued out against the President but no such leave was sought or obtained by applicants despite citing Mnangagwa,” she reveals.
Aleshina denied being Ukrainian but Russian and denied allegations that Sharpe is a fugitive.
“There are no pending criminal proceedings against him to substantiate this libelous false accusation. There is no court order calling for his incarceration. The law enforcement agents in this country are not even looking for him,” Aleshina submitted.
Markham, Pikicha and Savings Scheme argue that the Deed of Settlement signed between Harare City and Augur Investments was not only illegal but a clear theft of prime council land. They argue that conditions of the deal were never fulfilled.
The Deed of Settlement partly reads: “Upon signature of this Deed of Settlement, the Minister (July Moyo), City of Harare and Augur undertake to withdraw all and any legal actions and proceedings, both civil criminal, pending against each other before the courts.
“The minister undertakes to instruct the Coghlan, Welsh and Guest to release the title deeds to stand number 654 Pomona Township to Augur. Immediately thereafter, the Minister and/or the President shall sign all and any documents necessary to facilitate and effect the transfer of the said stand to Augur or its nominee, Doorex Properties within 14 days.
“Further to the above the above, the ministry and COH, in the spirit of Zimbabwe being open for business and to support Augur in its continued investments, undertake, subject to statutory compliance, to expedite the issuance of all and any necessary licences and permits to Augur and its related companies for any of its developments which it is carrying out in Harare.”