Zimdef sells prop­erty for a song

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Takunda Maodza Harare Bureau

THE con­tro­versy-rid­den Zim­babwe Man­power De­vel­op­ment Fund (Zimdef) is sell­ing one of its top prop­er­ties in Harare for $1.7 mil­lion un­der­stand­ably to raise cap­i­tal to fund other projects at a time se­nior of­fi­cials in its par­ent min­istry are un­der probe for alledgedly fleec­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.

The Min­is­ter of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment, Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr God­frey Gan­dawa are cur­rently be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for al­legedly fleec­ing Zimdef of close to half a mil­lion dol­lars in shady deal­ings.

In­sid­ers say the fund has cited fi­nan­cial chal­lenges among rea­sons why it is dis­pos­ing of Kuwiri­rana House.

The six storey build­ing, which once be­longed to the late Dr Sikhany­iso Ndlovu in the 1990s, is sit­u­ated along Ge­orge Silundika Av­enue close to First Street.

Zimdef tasked Knight Frank Es­tate Agents to sell the prime prop­erty on its be­half. Knight Frank has since flighted ad­verts alert­ing po­ten­tial buy­ers. Kuwiri­rana House sits on 654 square me­tres of land, of­fice space is 892 square me­tres, shop space 362 square me­tres while build­ing area is 1 254 squares me­tres. The build­ing con­sists of six sto­ries, ground floor re­tail space and an of­fice tower as well as six park­ing bays.

“The build­ing has re­in­forced con­crete struc­ture with brick in­fill walls. The build­ing of­fers a good re­turn on in­vest­ment and is lo­cated along Ge­orge Silundika Av­enue in the heart of the CBD and en­joys huge pedes­trian traf­fic,” said Knight Frank in an advertorial.

No one at Zimdef was pre­pared to talk to our Harare Bureau yes­ter­day over the mat­ter.

Zimdef chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Fredrick Man­dizvidza said that he was in a meet­ing and promised to call back. He never did.

Zimdef chief ac­coun­tant Mrs Ropafadzo Mukamba re­fused to com­ment as well re­fer­ring our Harare Bureau to Zimdef es­tate de­part­ment. Ef­forts to get a com­ment from that de­part­ment were fruit­less. Sources, how­ever, in­sisted Zimdef was in fi­nan­cial dire straits hence the de­ci­sion to sell the build­ing, which un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances is a cash cow by virtue of its prime lo­ca­tion as ob­served by es­tate agents Frank Knight in their advertorial.

Zimdef has been in the news for the wrong rea­sons this year amid rev­e­la­tions se­nior Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were si­phon­ing funds from the or­gan­i­sa­tion for use in busi­ness not re­lated to the rea­sons why it was founded in the first place.

Some se­nior Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in the Min­istry of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment have been al­legedly loot­ing the fund leav­ing it in the in­ten­sive care unit.

Zimdef was es­tab­lished by Sec­tion 23 of the Man­power Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Act, 1984 (now re­vised Man­power Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Act Chap­ter 28:02 of 1996) with a broad ob­jec­tive of fi­nanc­ing the de­vel­op­ment of crit­i­cal and highly skilled man­power in Zim­babwe.

It is funded by in­dus­try who con­trib­ute one per­cent for the train­ing of man­power deemed crit­i­cal for its sur­vival.

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