CONTROVESY at Chigwell Estate took on a new dimension a fortnight ago with deputy Information minister Bright Matonga being accused of trying to sell scrap metal belonging to the former owner of the farm, Tom Beattie.
o the Zimbabwe Independent last week, Beattie alleged Matonga, who was allocated part of the farm, had loaded a 30-tonne-truck of scrap metal from the farm on October 21.
“We alerted the police about our scrap metal that was being loaded onto a Marongwe Transport ERF truck,” Beattie said.
“Police intercepted and impounded the truck, keeping it at Chegutu police station from October 21 to October 27. The truck was later taken back to Chigwell Estate to off-load the scrap metal.”
Beattie said police arrested five of Matonga’s workers and Misheck Nyamkonda who had bought the scrap metal from the deputy minister.
A docket was opened under CR number 174/10/06.
“The buyer told the police that he had done an electronic transfer of $900 000 into Matonga’s account on Friday 20th of October after agreeing that he would collect the scrap metal the following day,” Beattie said. “We have since informed police deputy commissioner Godwin Matanga, and questioned whether being allocated a plot meant taking away the scrap metal on the farm.”
Beattie said on realising that he had failed to illegally sell the scrap metal, Matonga wrote to him demanding that he remove the scrap and that if Beattie failed to comply he would do so himself.
“As you seem to have been offended by my clearing away the rubbish scrap you left behind at your former farm, I would like to give you the opportunity of seven days to come and remove the said rubbish,” Matonga’s letter said. “Anything left lying around after this I will remove so as not to hinder my development plans.”
The letter was copied to one Ganyani, an Officer-In-Charge of ZRP Chegutu, Governor for Mashonaland West Nelson Samkange, and Assistant Commissioner Mahayo of Chinhoyi.
Contacted for comment, Ganyani referred all questions to the provincial spokesman in Chinhoyi.
“Talk to Mashonaland West provincial spokesman, he has all the details,” Ganyani said. The spokesman could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of his office.
Matonga could neither confirm nor deny the development. Instead he accused this reporter of pursuing a vendetta.
“Do you have a vendetta against me?” Matonga said “Why don’t you come to the farm and see what I am doing, then you can objectively write your stories?”
Chigwell Estate has for some time been at the centre of controversy with Matonga being accused of having harvested 140 hectares of soyabeans and seed maize planted by Beattie. The proceeds were valued at $10 million (revalued).
Beattie once wrote to Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Didymus Mutasa complaining about the situation at the farm as a result of the “attitude of Matonga’s employees”.
“The situation at the estate is becoming progressively volatile. All my staff have been threatened and forced to vacate their houses,” wrote Beattie in a letter that was also copied to a number of Zanu PF officials.
He also states in his letter that Matonga has taken over irrigation pipes and declined to return them.
“I require these excess pipes for my winter wheat irrigation. I am appealing to your office to help facilitate the return of these pipes,” he said. — Staff Writer.