Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Businessman and former Chitungwiza Ward 25 councillor Fredrick Mabamba has been arrested for allegedly selling State and council land to home-seekers. More than 50 land barons have appeared in court so far for allegedly selling State and council land in Harare.
Sources yesterday said Mabamba was arrested on Wednesday near Mabamba High School in Chitungwiza before he was taken to Harare Central Police Station for further investigations.
The sources said the net was closing in on other suspected land barons who are on the police wanted list.
Mabamba was yesterday still assisting police with investigations and is expected to appear in court today.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the arrest yesterday.
“He was arrested by CID Frauds on allegations of illegally allocating land to people. Investigations are still in progress,” she said.
Although details were still sketchy by yesterday, it is alleged Mabamba is facing more than 30 counts, among fresh charges against him still under police investigation.
Sources said one of the victims, a Chitungwiza woman (name withheld) who was duped of eight residential stands worth over $34 000, reported the case this week, leading to Mabamba’s arrest.
The woman is reported to have bought the stands from Mabamba on behalf of her relatives who are based in the United Kingdom.
The stands were said to be in Unit O, Chitungwiza, but when the woman demanded to view them, she could not locate them.
She went to Manyame Rural District Council where she was informed that there were no such stands.
Mabamba was then arrested and investigations revealed that he had other pending cases involving the illegal allocation of land to home-seekers.
In 2014, Mabamba, who was accused of being the chief architect of land allocation scams in the town, was dismissed from the local authority.
The then Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo on May 23 last year dismissed Mabamba from council after he was convicted of gross mismanagement of council affairs by a disciplinary tribunal.
The dismissal was recommended by a board of enquiry in terms of Section 114 (i) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).
Mabamba, through his United We Stand Housing Co-operative, was fingered in an audit report as the chief “land baron” in the illegal allocation of more than 8 000 residential stands to desperate home-seekers in Chitungwiza, an allegation he denied.