Home Affairs secretary Gwinji fingered in property row; disputed land listed in Bona Mugabe divorce

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By Staff Reporter

A Harare based property developing company, Arosume Property Development battling late former President Robert Mugabe’s family and business allies accusing them of disrupting its operations has singled out Home Affairs permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji in the row.

Gwinji has been sucked into a property dispute between the company and Louisa Kalenga-Bandal amid reports of spirited attempts to interrogate his Local Government peer Zvinechimwe Churu.

The company claims there are forces disrupting its operations, and unceasing efforts or attempts to gain an illegal foothold in the upscale Carrick Creagh estate.

One of the properties at the centre of the dispute was listed by Bona Mugabe’s estranged husband, Simba Chikore in his divorce claim.

While stand number 313 of Carrick Creagh has curiously been listed under Chikore and Bona Mugabe’s divorce case, the company has since issued a statement to the effect that the Mugabes and their circle did not own land there.

The company has since lodged a complaint against Gwinji in a letter addressed to Local government secretary, Churu stating that the former has no right to involve himself in the operational command of the police or direct how an investigation should be conducted.

A letter by the company, written through its lawyers, Jiti Law chambers,  gleaned by reads, “We are instructed to lodge this extraordinary complaint against the unfair meddling, and potentially unlawful conduct of… Gwinji in the administration of the tripartite agreement.”

The company added that Arosume’s June 2007 partnership with the government still subsisted and the issues with Kalenga-Bandal did not fall under the Home Affairs secretary’s purview and protocol demands.

“It has come to our attention that on the 16th of March 2023… addressed a letter (to his peer) on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department’s commercial crimes division… to interview you. That alone is bizarre,” it said.

“We are further concerned that it appears that CID CCD and Mr Gwinji’s request for various pieces of information was never intended to aid any investigation but to aid Mrs Louisa Duduzile Kalenga Bandals weak position in ongoing civil litigation.

“It has also come to our client’s attention that on March 29 2023, she addressed a letter titled, “request for documents to be used for civil litigation” to the police requesting almost all the documents CID CCD was collecting from your ministry and from our client.  We have advised our client that in terms of the law, the police can only use documents collected. It is not the business of the police or Mr Gwinji to support some selected litigants at the expense of others,” reads the letter.

The lawyers say according to Gwinji’s support letter for Kalenga-Bandal, the latter had been the “permanent and true owner of stand number 313 under the Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative (SMHC)”, which was meant to benefit civil servants.

The same stand was listed by Chikore in his divorce papers.

“In 2004, stand number 313 did not exist at law because the subdivision was only approved by the surveyor general on the 25th of January 2008. At no point in 2004 was SMHC empowered/entitled to allocate Borrowdale land,” the lawyers said in a stinging rebuttal, adding the Home Affairs secretary’s “requests for certain documents in an on-going civil litigation was worrying and the claims were bereft of fact as the farmland forming the estate was only acquired in 2006”.

“Gwinji has no power or authority to (directly or indirectly) to allocate state land, which is administered by another ministry.

“Having been a secretary for a while this is known to him and, as such, his attempt to assert falsely that… Bandal was ‘permanently allocated’ is improper and could only be motivated by either a corrupt intent..,” they said in the letter also copied to the commissioner-general police Goodwin Matanga and the National Housing ministry.”

The lawyers say Gwinji’s actions not only risked undermining the private-public partnership and government policy, but he had “no power to reverse cabinet decisions regarding the sale or allocation of state land.”