Net closing in on land barons

THE Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas has unearthed massive irregularities, with land barons making millions of dollars by duping desperate home seekers.

A report on the audit of 16 farms in Mashonaland East province has since been submitted to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Senior officials from the Ministries of Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement, and the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing have been interviewed by the commission as part of the fact finding mission.

Some of the farms inspected by the commission include Caledonia, Sebastopol, Romany and Solomio in Ruwa under Goromonzi district.

Others are Train farm Macheke, Labour of Longlands and Elmswood in Marondera, Gilston and Rocklands in Beatrice and Dunnotar, Tantallon, Cawdor and Edinburg in Nyatsime.

Farms in Harare South under Beatrice have also been visited for investigations.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, who is also the secretary to the Commission of Inquiry said, “We have produced a report which we have since submitted it to the President.

“The commission has so far worked on Mashonaland East province and we discovered that a lot of people are still being duped by land barons.

“There are also cases of double allocation of residential stands and some houses were built on sewer pipes.

“Some of the land barons made US$100 million. We have substantial evidence from a number of farms.

The commission will now focus on Harare, Manicaland and Mashonaland West provinces.

Urban planning expert, Professor Innocent Chirisa said, “Land barons are usually political creations. This is a corrupt system run by politicians and other bigwigs. We need to unmask these land barons.”

Addressing a rally at White City stadium in Bulawayo last week, President Mnangagwa said the net was closing in on land barons.

The Head of State and Government established a six-member Commission of Inquiry to investigate sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005.

Initially, the commission was supposed to report its findings next year but the Office of the President and Cabinet has since said the commission will report to the President periodically.

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