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431 land barons face arrest over irregular sale of state land …Gvt says US$3 billion lost in the process

by Staff Reporter
10 Dec 2019 at 17:59hrs | Views
Government says 431 land barons face arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over the irregular sale of land after a commission of inquiry on the sale of state land in and around urban areas handed its report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday.
 
Mnangagwa's spokesperson said George Charamba said Mnangagwa ordered that all the revenue lost through shady deals should be recovered from the land barons.

Charamba said the commission, led by Supreme and Constitutional Courts Judge Justice Tendai Uchena established that land for urban development covered 91 farms, with sales encompassing 71 farms.

He said new settlers on residential are living without basic amenities.

"Much worse, intrinsic value for land running for more than USD$3 billion was not always honoured, with Government standing owed, and committed to an unplanned infrastructural Development Programme exceeding USD$2bn. The report noted rampant abuse of office and influence to acquire land illegally, largely by land barons, while all rules of planning and construction were wantonly breached. A consequence of all these infractions was polluting of underground water sources.

"A total of 431 cases require investigation and prosecution, with Harare topping the list. The Inquiry recommended that these cases be handed over to the Police and ZACC for investigation and correction. The Inquiry recommends freezing of new settlements to tidy up current mess," said Charamba.

He said the commission had also established that some farmers illegally converted agricultural land for urban settlements.

"The Inquiry recommended lifestyle audits on all officials associated with land allocation and sales for urban developments. Cancellations of undeveloped allocations to individuals, cooperatives or companies is also being recommended. A number of settlements, the Inquiry established, suffered administrative vacuums, with the immediate recommendation being that interim bodies be created to plug the administrative gaps. Alongside this process should be the activation of ZINWA to take control of nearby water bodies for settlement water supplies," said Charamba.

In Manicaland, Charamba said, an individual illegally acquired land larger than Rusape urban.

He said the commission recommended that the police set up specialised units to investigate land-related abuses.
"This would also ensure that State automatically becomes the complainant," said Charamba.

"Zimra is also being required to audit sales to ensure taxes owed or evaded are made right. The right to clean water is uppermost in the Inquiry's recommendations."



Source - Byo24News

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