Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere allegedly demanded $5 million bribe from businessman and property developer Dr Phillip Chiyangwa to speed up the process of compensating his companies for the urban land that was compulsorily acquired by the State for settlement.
Dr Chiyangwa said he purchased a total of 1 286 hectares of land at Nyarungu Estates, Stoneridge and Orda farms from private owners, but Government later compulsorily acquired the land to accommodate the homeless. Jetmaster Properties and Sensene Investments — both subsidiaries of Pinnacle Property Holdings owned by Dr Chiyangwa — contested the decision until the Supreme Court issued an order for the parties to negotiate the compensation terms for the land in question.
A deed of settlement was filed with the court allocating the land to Pinnacle Property Holdings.
Pinnacle, according to the agreement, would spearhead the development of the land and recover its compensation from payments from stand occupants.
Dr Chiyangwa claimed that when Minister Kasukuwere assumed the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing portifolio, the finalisation of the deals dragged amid demands for the bribe.
In an interview, Dr Chiyangwa described Minister Kasukuwere as “a bribe-taker who wanted to reap where he did not sow”.
“We came a long way, but he has totally chosen to control me through remote control,” said Dr Chiyangwa. “He tells me that he wants $5 million to process my things. Despite a Supreme Court order for the settlement of the matter and the President’s directive through Minister (Douglas) Mombeshora (Lands and Rural Resettlement) to allocate the land to me, I went through serious pressure from Kasukuwere.
“Up to now, Tyson (as Kasukuwere is sometimes called) wants a bribe from the property that is legitimately mine.”
Minister Kasukuwere, according to Dr Chiyangwa, employed delaying tactics to ensure the bribe was paid.
“This guy is an extortionist,” he said. “I have treated him as a brother, but his love for money has turned him into something else.”
Dr Chiyangwa threatened to spill the beans if Minister Kasukuwere responded to the bribery allegations.
“He demanded $5 million from me,” he said. “Let him respond to it and I will unleash all the bombs on him. I will write a book about Tyson and myself. He is simply a bribe-taker. I am warning him against continuously demanding bribes from people.”
Responding to the allegations, Minister Kasukuwere said Dr Chiyangwa would not get away with the “12 million hectares of land he stole from the State”.
He outrightly denied the bribery allegations.
“If I demanded the bribe, why didn’t he report to the Anti-Corruption Commission? I did not solicit for any bribe from Chiyangwa,” said Minister Kasukuwere. “He does not have money. I will never waste my time arguing with him.”
Minister Kasukuwere accused Dr Chiyangwa of corruptly acquiring close to 12 million hectares of land from local authorities and that he (as the Minister of Local Government) was simply enquiring on how he got such tracts of land.
“Chiyangwa has been corrupting ministry officials and managed to steal almost 12 million hectares of land in this country,” he said. “I am merely doing my job. I am trying to inquire on how he acquired the land and he is trying to cover up for his criminality.
“There is a big inquiry for Chiyangwa and he will not get away with it.” – Chronicle