MUTARE — Suspended Mutare mayor, Brian James, has called for an independent probe and audit of all land sales in the eastern border town.
Report by Clayton Masekesa
James was responding to accusations that he allegedly used his position to acquire stands in the city when he was the mayor.
It is alleged that James and Dangamvura-Chikanga senator, Keresencia Chabuka (MDC-T) each got a stand in the leafy suburb of Murambi East.
“The sale of the stands was above board. I bought the stand as per Dr Ignatious Chombo’s directive, that all councillors were permitted to access a residential stand within their ward,” James said.
“I was offered the choice of a stand within a newly surveyed portion of Murambi East, and at that time other appointed councillors had already claimed their allocations within the same area.”
He denied influencing the survey work and the size of the stands, asserting that he had accepted the terms and conditions regarding the purchase of the land.
James, who insists his hands are clean, says only an audit can prove that everything he did was above board.
“Perhaps this [audit]could start with my stand allocation and progress to all councillors’ stand allocations and land purchases followed by management allocations, purchases and sales, including green belt developments,” the suspended mayor said.
“Finally, this investigation could move onto larger commercial properties including those opposite the Sakubva Soccer Stadium and the Mutare Main Swimming Pool.”
James believes that his suspension from council was a ploy by councillors and the city’s management to block the process of having the council finances and land sales audited.
James became unpopular with the council’s top management and councillors when he tried to institute investigations on his councillors who are suspected of having been involved in corrupt activities, which could have catapulted them from “rags-to-riches” within the short time they have been in office.