THE Justice Tendai Uchena-led commission of inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas has said 50 cases of land fraud are currently under investigation countrywide.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Justice Uchena and commissioners Petronella Musarurwa, Heather Chingono and Steven Chakaipa yesterday told journalists in Harare that they were investigating and identifying State land acquired by the Lands and the Local Government ministries for urban development since 2005.
“We have noted with concern that the public continues to purchase urban State land stands from co-operatives and developers who fail to follow due process in the selling, allocation, development and servicing of urban State land,” Justice Uchena said.
“Co-operatives, developers, local authorities, individual State land sellers and any other State land actors are warned against continued sale of State land in cases where the commission has expressed reservations against the sale of such State land.”
The commission’s chief investigator Superintendent Godfree Muza said of the 50 cases of land barons that are being investigated, 25 were now before the courts.
Some of the notorious land barons whose cases are before the courts include former Zanu PF youth league commissar Innocent Hamandishe, whose name features a lot in land scams in the Caledonia area.
Another land baron, Alfred Yasina, also features prominently in cases of double sale of stands to unsuspecting individuals, as well as Talent Chikanga.
In Manicaland, some of the land barons that have been arraigned before the courts include former Zanu PF Manicaland youth league leader Mubuso Chinguno, Victor Saunyama, David Kafeso and Wonder Gapa, who is said to have since skipped the country.
In Masvingo, Miriam Chipoka has been arraigned before the courts for land-related crimes.
In Marondera, Joice Chiroodza and Shelly Chapwanya have land scam cases before the courts.
Justice Uchena said during oral evidence gathering, victims claimed that they were duped into buying illegal land at places that had no roads, water or sewer systems, and with toilets dug five to 10 metres from water sources.
“We advise members of the public to desist from purchasing stands on State land for urban expansion purposes before verifying with the Local Government ministry on whether the purchasers of such State land have the authority to sell such land,” he said.
Justice Uchena said they had made inquiries on 79 urban State land units and farms throughout the country, adding that the commission’s outstanding work was in four provinces; Harare Metropolitan, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Midlands provinces, where they would look at 121 urban State land units and farms.
Secretary of the commission, Virginia Mabiza, said there was a lot of land corruption, adding the affected public should approach the land commission, at Harare Club, to report the cases.