GWERU: A ten-member Special Anti-Corruption Commission is in the Midlands province where high profile figures including senior government officials are facing arrest over sale of state land.
The crack team which is in the province since Monday today (Wednesday) arrested prominent businesswoman and property developer, Smelly Dube; the chief executive officer for River Valley properties.
Dube who is facing charges of selling state land with most of the charges emanating for the justice Tendai Uchena’s commission of inquiry report got arrested while in admission at a Gweru private hospital where she is seeking medical attention.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of Dube.
“Yes, I can confirm that the police working with the Special Anti-Corruption Commission have arrested Smelly Dube on allegations of illegal acquisition and sell of State land,” he said.
Ass Com Nyathi said Dube was allegedly called for questioning on Tuesday but failed to show up adding that investigations by the team led them to a private hospital in Gweru where she was seeking medical assistance.
“So, she was told that she was now under arrest and allowed to receive the treatment she requires but under police guard. She is expected in court tommorow or Friday depending on her condition,” said Ass Comm Nyathi.
He said Sacco was in the Midlands province to investigate illegal acquisition and sell of state land by councils, land barons and Government officials.
“Investigations are continuing in Midlands province as the team is looking into land scandals involving councils, land barons and Government officials,” said Ass Com Nyathi.
Dube’s lawyer, Nqobani Sithole confirmed her arrest adding that she was arrested while receiving medical attention at a local private hospital where she is now under police guard.
“My client was arrested while at a local hospital where she was receiving some medical attention. We haven’t been furnished with reasons or the supposed crime she committed. She is however in the hospital under police guard. We will advise you later,” he said.
Dube sources said she was Sacco’s biggest target among other land developers as well as a number of senior Government officials who are under investigation over a scandal in which 410 residential stands were illegally allocated some people on wetlands in Gweru.
Some land barons in the Midlands province are alleged to have allocated people stands in wetlands, water ways where some houses were recently flooded resulting in some families losing their property.
The Sacco team visit comes two weeks after the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities Daniel Garwe toured some areas which were recently affected by floods Sacco team also visited Ascot Extension where senior Government officials allocated 410 more residents stands under the Hlalani khule/ Garikai housing project.
The Sacco team is also reportedly set to interrogate developers of Ascot Extension under Tinshel after Minister Garwe’s tour revealed that the stands were not approved by Gweru City council with over 58 houses built along the river.
Environmental Management Agency Midlands provincial manager Benson Basera told Minister Garwe then that the houses in Ascot Extension were not supposed to have been constructed in a wetland and close to Gweru River.
“These houses are not supposed to be here. They are too close to the river. They are in a wetland and this is a flood-prone area,” said Bhasera then.
Former Midlands provincial Minister, Jason Machaya and provincial planning office, Chaisayanyerwa Chibururu were last year sentenced to 3 years in prison after they were convicted for selling state land.