A special taskforce assembled by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Zimbabwe Land Commission and Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing Ministry has launched an extensive investigation into fraudulent acquisition and parcelling out of State land.
The anti-graft body has also joined hands with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and legal experts to track money laundering and externanlisation.
Zacc Commissioner (education and publicity) Mrs Farai Chinyani said: “Days are numbered for unscrupulous land barons who made millions of dollars through sale of State and council land. This high- level corruption is coming to an end.”
Details at hand indicate the investigation into land scams covers all housing co-operatives.
“We are looking into all land transactions from recent years. The main focus is on housing co-operatives and all the land barons; we are checking how they acquired the land. We are picking out the irregularities and those found wanting will face the music,” said Mrs Chinyani.
“There are several cases of land barons selling land belonging to the State and councils. This sort of corruption must be stopped and that’s what we will do.”
Cases of land barons are rampant in Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural District Council where 14 000 stands were deemed illegal in December 2013. An audit revealed that land barons pocketed more than US$20 million from the illegal sale of land.
In Harare, illegal land transactions have been reported in Mufakose, Kuwadzana and Glen Norah.
Zacc and the RBZ are also tracking cash barons who are involved in exertanisaltion and money laundering.
Zacc investigators indicated that preliminary details pointed that bankers from six failed financial institutions – Interfin, Royal, Trust, Allied, Tetrad and AfriAsia – may have taken money from Zimbabwe to invest in South African companies, in addition to buying luxury beach front properties in Cape Town and Durban, and mansions in the plush Sandton suburb of Johannesburg.
Investigators are also interested in a Harare-based businessman who reportedly accessed about US$20 million from Kingdom Bank and moved it to South Africa.
Another case involves an opposition politician who was given US$16 million by three banks, which he used to buy a cotton ginning firm across the Limpopo River.
The Zacc and RBZ investigation comes against a spike in illegal street trading of bond notes against foreign currencies.
President Mugabe, through Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017, legislated regulations to deal with illegal cash vending, and scores of people have since appeared in court facing charges of illegally currency trading.
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