A Harare City Council junior employee who works in the housing department and earns less than US$300, has created a storm after he sold himself an upmarket council house for cheap and transferred the ownership to himself.
Aaron Tayerera is a clerical officer in Grade 11, and does not qualify to live in a council house even on rental basis. However, he now owns a house located on 49A Lancaster Avenue (also known as Stand 1448 Belvedere) and has since been sent on suspension for other crimes as well.
Tayerera is among several council employees on suspension over corrupt land deals, and for stripping the local authority of its assets.
The house he sold himself was meant for rent to a top council manager. In fact, council policy is that all council houses must never be sold to anyone, even a council employee of the highest grade.
The criteria used in allocating Tayerera the house remains unclear considering he had never stayed at the property before and his grade is too low for renting the house, let alone for special permission to buy it.
According to The Herald, the property in question was sold for US$80 000, which raises the question of how the purchase was funded considering a council employee in Grade 11 gets a monthly salary in the region of $30 000, just under US$350 at the current auction rate.
Harare Acting Mayor Stewart Mutizwa confirmed the transaction and said it was totally unacceptable but had happened before his appointment.
“I am aware of the case but the position is no one is allowed to buy an institutional property. The circumstances under which the house was sold were unusual.
“Houses meant for our employees cannot be sold to anyone, no matter what grade the purchaser holds. Institutional houses must remain council property accommodating those employees in need.
“We are actually sitting on a backlog of employees in need of institutional accommodation and stripping council of its assets that way is unacceptable,” said Mutizwa.
Investigations reveal that some MDC-A councillors are jointly implicated in the land deals with Tayerera, as they approved the sale of the property.
Tayerera already has a criminal case pending at the Harare Magistrate’s Court, in which it is alleged that between 2018 and 2019, he and former housing director Matthew Marara hatched a plan to irregularly convert a public open space in Strathaven under council ownership into a residential stand and then sell it for personal gain.
They allegedly demarcated the land, gave it a fictitious stand number and sold it to an unsuspecting land seeker Aaron Gomo, allegedly for US$20 900, the court heard.
To cover up for the offence, the pair, it is alleged, created an offer letter and agreement of sale backdated to 2017, which they signed and handed to Gomo.
The offence was discovered by the City of Harare Investigations department through a tip off.
Allegedly fraudulent and fake documents including a fraudulent file, fake layout plan, offer letter and agreement of sale manufactured by the pair are being held as exhibits. □
- via Herald