By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Republic Police must investigate all officers, past and present, involved or connected with management of urban state land, the Lands Commission has said in its inquiry report.
The commission also recommended that there must be a lifestyle audit on all the officers who were involved allocation, planning, valuations, survey, and allocation of commonage, creation and transfer of title) since 2005 amid claims of abuse of office, receiving bribes, and general corrupt conduct.
The report has revealed politically connected politicians, land barons, property developers, housing cooperative leaders illegally sold state land and 431 cases of suspected corruption need to be further investigated and prosecuted.
“The Commission established that generally, sale of urban state land, planning and development took place on 91 farms which were acquired by the Ministry responsible for lands and handed over for urban development to the Ministry responsible for Local Government,” Land Commission chairperson Justice Tendai Uchena said Tuesday when he presented the Commission of inquiry report to the presidium.
“Sale of urban state land, planning and development also took place on 79 farms which were acquired by government before such farms were handed over for urban development.
“This makes a total of 170 farms in and around urban areas where urban development is taking place.”
The Commission established that there are several serious cases that require further investigations by relevant bodies, which have arresting and enforcement powers such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Among cases recommended for further investigations are Harare Metropolitan province, which has 156 cases; followed by Mashonaland East 120, Mashonaland West (50), Midlands (27), Mashonaland Central (25), Manicaland (22), Masvingo 21 with Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces with the least number at five cases each.
“Investigate all officers, past and present, involved or connected with management of urban state land (allocation, planning, valuations, survey, and allocation of commonage, creation and transfer of title) since 2005 on allegations of abuse of office, receiving bribes, and general corrupt conduct; and conduct lifestyle audits on them,” recommends the Commission of inquiry.
“Investigate all officers, past and present, involved or connected with the issuance of certificates of No Present Interest, handover of state land to Ministry responsible for Local Government without authority and transfer of acquired land to individuals.”
Over and above farms acquired since 2005, the Commission inquired into land, which has always been state land under the jurisdiction of the Ministry responsible for Local Government.
The Lands Commission also found out the land invaders were home-seekers, war veterans, co-operatives members and land developers and creation of new urban settlements by aspiring or sitting MPs as a way of mobilising for political support.
“Abuse of political office in the allocation and appropriation of urban state land and use of names of top ruling party leadership to exert undue influence on Government institutions and processes, led to the illegal sale of urban state land,” the Land Commission said.
“Creation of opportunities for land barons, criminals to sell urban state land. Land barons are usually politically-connected, powerful, self-proclaimed illegal state land ‘authorities’ who illegally sold state land in and around urban areas without accounting for the proceeds.”