Michael Mahachi

From Pindula

Michael Mahachi, a property developer businessman, served on, and at times as Chairman of the the Harare Commission, which was appointed in 2004 by Ignatius Chombo following the dismissal of elected mayor Elias Mudzuri. His brother Tendai Mahachi served, at the same time, as Harare Town Clerk. Subsequently, he has been arrested and went to trial in 2019 for his involvement in the Augur Investments / Airport Road deal.

Personal Details

1952 - Born No other information could be found on his, place of birth, or family.

School / Education

No information could be found on his Junior or High School, or any tertiary education.

Service / Career

Events

In December 2006, Minister Ignatius Chombo announced new appointments to the Harare Commission, chaired by Sekesai Makwavarara (who was reappointed earlier in December to a fifth term). Held over were Jameson Kurasha, Justin Chivavaya, Michael Mahachi and Alfred Tome. Removed were Tendai Savanhu, Callisto Matafare and Prisca Mupfumira.

New members included Killian Mupingo, a member of the board of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company or ZUPCO, Civil Protection Unit Director Madzudzo Pawadyira, Sylvia Masango, a principal director in the office of Vice President Joyce Mujuru, and Sasha Jogi. Harare had been run by the commission under Makwavarara since 2004, when the central government removed then-mayor Elias Mudzuri, an opposition politician. [1]

In June 2016, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Auditor General’s office called for probes into the Airport Road contract - construction of the 20km road, known as the Joshua Nkomo Expressway.

What is known from internal investigations by the City of Harare, a report by the Auditor General, and other separate investigations, is that;

  • The airport deal was awarded to Augur Investments without going to tender, and involved the City of Harare pledging 4000 hectares of land to the company as part payment;
  • Showing the level of impunity, Augur Investments at one point shared the same address with a company owned by Ignatius Chombo, whose Ministry had overseen the awarding of the deal. An investigation found that Augur and Chombo’s Harvestnet Enterprises both listed 62 Quorn Avenue, Mt Pleasant, Harare, as their address
  • Michael Mahachi, who was caretaker chairman of council at the time the contract was awarded to Augur, was also “project manager” for Augur. He sat in meetings where land was awarded to Augur
  • Ratepayers and taxpayers ended up paying much more, in land and millions of dollars, than they should have.
  • In 2007, without going to tender, CoH awarded the deal to Augur Investments. The company’s foreign address led to a small flat in an industrial district of Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. The company was only registered in Estonia in September 2007, months after it had signed the airport road MoU in May. It was also registered in Mauritius. One of Augur’s directors was Ken Sharpe. [2]

In 2016, Saviour Kasukuwere (new Minister of Local Government) seized back land, in Harare’s Pomona area, that formed part of the Augur Investments / Airport Road deal. They then contested the seizure in the High Court and Justice Clement Phiri ordered the ministry, the City of Harare and other parties that were benefiting from the parceling out of the land to vacate. Kasukuwere took the matter to the Supreme Court and ordered an investigation into the whole deal. The tripartite deal was signed in 2008, when Michael Mahachi was acting chairman of a commission that was running the City of Harare, and doubled up as Augur Investment’s project manager, reportedly paid close to US$2 million.

A CoH investigation, corroborated by the Office of the Auditor General, indicates Ignatius Chombo (the previous minister for Local Government) was the kingpin of a deal that saw CoH pledging 4 000 hectares of land in exchange for the upgrading of 12-km of road to the Harare International Airport. The deal, given without due tender process, was valued at US$80 million. [3]

In June, 2017, Michael Mahachi, property developer and a Transnational Holdings Limited (THL) nominee, has replaced ZB Financial Holdings (ZB) chief executive officer, Ronald Mutandagayi. Other THL nominees to the Mashonaland Holdings (Mashold) board are Mike Manyika, Vingirai Watunga and Ralph Watungwa. This was seen as a move by Nicholas Vingirai, through his investment vehicle, THL, to take control of Mashold following the appointment of his crony, Michael Mahachi, as chairman of the property investment and development concern. It is believed this was meant to protect Vingirai’s interests, after a protracted court battle. [4]

In November 2018, Michael Mahachi appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, was not asked to plead, and remanded in custody to November 30. He was deemed a flight risk, and could flee the country if given bail as he faced a serious offence. In addition, since Mahachi’s company was involved in the case, chances were he could tamper with the evidence to weaken the State’s case. [5]

Michael Mahachi, chairman, appointed by Ignatius Chombo’ of the Harare Commission between 2006 and 2013, is seeking freedom after his arrest for criminal abuse of office. (Augur Investments / Airport Road, 2008). Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa remanded him in custody to November 30, said his lawyer, Misheck Hogwe. [6]

In November 2019, the trial began. Tendai Mahachi, Sekesai Makwavarara and Michael Mahachi denied charges of criminal abuse of office before regional magistrate, Elijah Makomo. Zivanai Macharaga, prosecuting, called the investigating officer Zondai Makawa as his first witness to begin the state allegations. [7]

  1. Local Government Minister Appoints Harare Commissioners, VOA Zimbabwe, Published: 29 December 2006, Retrieved: 20 January 2020
  2. Harare Airport Road paved with greed and corruption, Sunday Mail, Published: 10 June 2016, Retrieved: 20 January 2020
  3. Saviour Kasukuwere investigates Harare land deals, Financial Gazette, Published: 2 February 2017, Retrieved: 20 January 2020
  4. Nicholas Vingirai takes control of Mashonaland Holdings, Financial Gazette, Published: 1 June 2017, Retrieved: 17 January 2020
  5. Ex-Harare commissioner denied bail in $80m airport road scam, Newsday, Published: 19 November 2018, Retrieved: 17 January 2020
  6. Mahachi approaches High Court for bail, Daily News, Published: 20 November 2018, Retrieved: 17 January 2020
  7. Ex-Harare council chiefs go on trial over US$80m airport road tender, ZimLive, Published: 26 November 2019, Retrieved: 20 January 2020