Land developer snubs Commission, flies to UK

Smelly Dube

GWERU – The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabiza has warned Gweru land developer Smelly Dube who snubbed two scheduled Land Commission hearings and flew to the UK to receive an award that she is stretching the Commission’s patience too far.

Dube who is the Chief Executive Officer of River Valley Properties did not appear before the Commission of Inquiry into the matter of sale of urban State land when she and her husband Mncedisi were subpoenaed in Gweru on June 27 and again when they were subpoenaed in Harare on July 3.

Her lawyers presented certificates of ill health on both occasions but a few days later on Thursday last week their clients flew to the UK to receive the African Achievers Award and attend the conference which goes with them.

Dube posted her pictures and videos from the awards ceremony in Newington, UK on River Valley Properties Facebook page. It is believed that she is being accompanied abroad by a State media journalist who was recently questioned by the Commission on EcoCash payments that he received from Dube’s companies.

Mabiza who is also the secretary to the Commission told The Mirror in an interview that Dube’s behaviour is suspicious but she was not going to escape the law.

“Right now we are not formally informed about her whereabouts but her behaviour is suspicious and meant to weave her way out of the hearings but the law will take its course. She will be given another chance to testify; the Commission will sit down and craft a way forward,” said Mabiza.

The Mirror called Dube who was still in the UK on Monday but she refused to talk when she realised that it was a reporter from the newspaper.

“Nhaiwe unondidanira call yeMirror shuwa (How can you call me to answer a call from The Mirror)?” said Dube to someone who had answered her phone.

In his appearance at the Commission a week ago, the state media journalist dismissed any links with Dube or her companies. On Thursday last week he however, posted his visa to the UK and his pictures while there and said he was having a time of his life. He bragged about his residential stands and the trip to UK.

“Munongovukura, ..,” he said probably referring to journalists who were questioning his ethical conduct.
The UK event is being hosted by former MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott.

“I am happy to receive an award and represent my country at this prestigious ceremony. I feel proud to be part of this and this will help put my country on the world map,” said Dube.

Meanwhile three more State media journalists are expected to appear before the Commission on allegations of receiving payments or free stands from land barons in Gweru.