New Zimbabwe.com

Ex-Harare mayor Sekesai Makwavarara in court over $80mln 2007 fraud, bailed $1000

By Mary Taruvinga


FORMER Harare City Commission chairperson, Sekesai Makwavarara (61) was on Wednesday dragged to court on allegations of illegally awarding an $80 million deal to a construction company sometime 2007 without going to tender.

She appeared before Harare magistrate, Rumbidzai Mugwagwa who released her on $1000 bail.

The former MDC official was not asked to plead and is expected back in court February 28.

Prosecuting, Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that sometime in 2007, the city of Harare planned to construct an upgrade of the airport road.

On June 2 same year, Makwavarara, acting in connivance with her accomplices, former town clerk Tendai and Michael Mahachi – already on remand in connection in this case – corruptly caused city of Harare to enter into a memorandum of agreement with Augur Investments Pvt Ltd without council resolution.

They also did not follow tender procedures, the state further alleged.

Court heard they signed the said memorandum representing City of Harare while Augur Investments was represented by Alexander Sheremet.

In September 2007, Makwavarara and her alleged accomplices caused the City of Harare to further enter into a shareholder’s agreement and memorandum of understanding on 21 May 2008.

Resultantly, in March 2008, the city of Harare entered into an agreement with Augur Investments which is purportedly based in Ukraine.

Augur was to fund and provide expertise on the project and City of Harare was to cede pieces of land to the company in lieu of work done on the road.

The project was divided into four phases and was to be completed by 2010.

The shareholders agreed that title deeds of the pieces of land to be transferred to Augur Investments were to be held in trust by Coghlan Welsh and Guest lawyers pending transfer upon completion and certification of work done.

The three again hatched a plan to violate provisions of the law and engaged Augur Investments which was not registered in Zimbabwe under the Companies Act and Zimbabwe Investments Authority (ZIA).

The company was later registered in Zimbabwe in 2010 after the lifespan of the project had expired.

Prosecutors say the engagement of Augur investment was in violation of the Urban Councils Act.

The company did not complete the job due to lack of capacity to handle the project of such magnitude.

The project was later taken over by the government in 2014.

City of Harare was prejudiced of $80 million, the value of land measuring over 10 000 hectares that was transferred to Augur Investments.