Probe land barons: Biti

Source: Probe land barons: Biti – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      2 May 2017

HARARE – The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti has said
government must set up a judicial commission to investigate suspected land

Writing on his Twitter account, the former Finance minister said it is
time the contentious issue of land barons, which has created town planning
nightmares and seen scores of desperate home seekers lose hard-earned
money, is decisively dealt with.

“There must be a judicial commission of inquiry into #LandBarons & the
allocation of urban housing land #NotoLabdBarons,” he wrote.

His sentiments come after the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC called for an
investigation into land barons following claims by
businessman-cum-politician Philip Chiyangwa that Local Government minister
Saviour Kasukuwere demanded a $5 million bribe to facilitate a land deal.

Chiyangwa sensationally claimed that Kasukuwere wanted the hefty sum for
him to speed up the process of compensating the property mogul for land
compulsorily acquired by government to resettle the homeless.

Chiyangwa said he had purchased 1 286 hectares of land at Nyarungu
Estates, Stoneridge and Orda farms from private owners.

Last week, Kasukuwere suspended 25 Chitungwiza councillors on corruption
allegations, including illegal land deals.

This comes after a Chitungwiza internal audit report exposed massive
stands scandal implicating the mayor, councillors and staffers.

The report showed that several councillors and workers had assumed the
role of the planning department by conniving to identify undeveloped
stands and submitting land for verification and allocation to the
department of housing in a well-orchestrated scam.

According to the report, the town’s mayor Phillip Mutoti’s four-year-old
son was allegedly allocated a stand and he later sold it while Zanu PF
councillor Charamba Mlambo acquired more than 40 stands.

The report also showed that a total of 99 stands were allocated to
councillors and staff.

The audit said the councillors and council staff took advantage of the
absence of a properties database for Chitungwiza.

The report recommended that culprits fingered in the stands scam be
charged as per the council’s code of conduct.

Recently, National Housing ministry permanent secretary George Mlilo said
Local Government authorities were scared of reining-in land barons as they
are spooked by the politicians’ names given to the rogue developers’