New Zimbabwe.com

Government fails to pay compensation for New Parliament land; owner goes to court demanding US$900,000

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By Mary Taruvinga l Senior Reporter


GOVERNMENT has been sued for reportedly failing to compensate the claimed owner of the land where the country’s new Parliament building was constructed.

Touted as a gift to Zimbabwe, the building US$140m building was constructed in Mt Hampden, some 18km, northwest of Harare.

The imposing 650-seat structure heralds the start of a new administrative capital for the country and replaces the current colonial-era structure which has only 100 seats for Zimbabwe’s 350 legislators

However, claimed owner of the land – a church called One Way Ministries – filed a lawsuit citing lands minister Anxious Masuka, local government counterpart, July Moyo, and finance minister Mthuli Ncube as respondents.

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One Way Ministries is demanding US$900,000, which was promised by government after it expropriated land the church used as its prayer centre.

Members of the church now have nowhere to congregate after government reneged on its promise to give the institution a new place in Glen Forest.

According to court papers, on July 1, 2016, the lands minister designated for compulsory acquisition, land measuring 7.91 hectares held by the church under Deed of Transfer No 3207/2011.

Government ministries wrote the church on May 6, 2016 undertaking to carry out the valuation of the land in order to facilitate compensation for compulsory acquisition.

In November 2017, before compensation was finalised or paid, the local government minister wrote to the church advising that construction would commence as such land was supposed to be given up.

The parties negotiated and in October 2017 the lands minister offered to pay US$900,000 for the property.

One Way Ministries agreed to the amount and signed documents to that effect on June 2, 2020.

“After noting that despite undertaking to pay, the defendants had failed to pay, the plaintiff made a formal claim for payment several times but the defendants have ignored or neglected to pay despite promising to do so,” reads court papers.

Parties agreed that compensation value of the said Lot 20 of Glen Forest of Borrowdale Farm, Goromonzi is US$165,000 and was to be deducted from US$900,000 and the balance to be paid to the church.

“Further, the plaintiff was offered as compensation deductable from the US$900 000, the allocation of Lot 20 Glen Forest Borrowdale and has accepted by signing to receive title or ownership of the said land, but same has not been ceded or transferred despite promises by the defendants.”

This has not been done and the delay in compensating the Glen Forest land owner has prevented the church from taking occupation of the land.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.