7 February 2019
Former Harare City Council Commission Chair Sekesai Makwavarara yesterday appeared in court facing charges of criminal abuse of duty.
Makwavarara, 61, was granted $1 000 bail when she appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
She will be back in court on February 28.
The State, led by Shepherd Makonde, alleges that sometime during the year 2007, the City of Harare planned to construct and upgrade the airport road.
On June 22 2007, Makwavarara acting in common purpose with her accomplices Tendai and Michael Mahachi who are already in remand, corruptly caused City of Harare to enter into a Memorandum of agreement with Augur Investments Private Limited without council resolution and without following tender procedures.
Makwavarara and her accomplices signed the said memorandum of understanding representing the City of Harare whilst Augur Investments was represented by Olexander Sheremet.
On September 4 2007, Makwavarara acting in common purpose with her accomplices, caused the City of Harare to further enter into shareholders’ agreement and memorandum of understanding on the May 21 2008.
Resultantly, on May 30 2008,City of Harare entered into a memorandum of agreement with Augur Investments Pvt Ltd a foreign based company purportedly based in Ukraine. Makwavarara with her accomplices signed the memorandum on behalf of City of Harare.
The aforementioned agreements were for the construction and upgrading of airport road at a cost of $80 million.
According to the agreements, Augur Investments was to fund and provide expertise for the project whereas City of Harare was to cede pieces of land to Augur Investments in lieu of work done on the road.
The project was divided into four phases and was to be completed by the year 2010.
The shareholders agreed that the title of deeds of the pieces of land to be transferred to Augur Investments were to be held in trust by Messrs Coghlan Welsh and Guest pending transfer upon completion and certification of work done.
The engagement of Augur Investments by the accused persons was a violation of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29.15 sections 210 and 211 which provides for procurements of service providers and tenders by Local Authorities.
Resultantly, Augur Investment did not complete the project due to lack of the capacity to handle the project of such magnitude.
The project was later taken over by the government of Zimbabwe in February 2014 through the department of roads and was financed by Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA).
The accused person’s actions resulted in City of Harare suffering an actual prejudice of US$80 million being valued of land measuring 107,572 hectares which was transferred to Augur Investments.
Memorandum of Understanding entered between City of Harare and Augur Investments Pvt Ltd, Shareholders agreement entered between City of Harare and Augur Investments, Memorandum of agreement signed between City of Harare and Augur Investments and witness statements are to be used as evidence in court.