By Robert Tapfumaneyi
EXILED former Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere says findings by the Justice Tendai Uchena-led commission of inquiry into the sale of State land have exonerated him from accusations that he was abusing his office and corruptly allocating State land to his cronies.
Kasukuwere was Local Government Minister from 2015 to 2017.
Speaking in a recent interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the former Zanu PF national political commissar said the Land Commission of Inquiry was set up by then President Robert Mugabe led government following claims of massive land theft by corrupt individuals.
“I initiated the process, the Land Commission and the inquiry is as a result of the report I presented after I had observed the situation where land barons were taking advantage of the system and I brought this up to President RG Mugabe,” he said.
“And we took a decision as Cabinet to set up a Commission of Inquiry and I am sure if people are being honest this was work underway.
“By the time President Mugabe stepped down, this process was already underway.”
Kasukuwere added; “We discovered that there were some glaring loopholes that were in existence in our State land system and that we had to stop this.
“Individuals were now parcelling out land, cooperatives fleecing innocent citizens, and this had to be stopped.”
The former Mount Darwin MP said the Land Commission’s final report and recommendations were what he had set to address.
“But this is exactly what I thought we were making correction to when we set of the commission of inquiry,” he said.
“It was about to bring about these issues. So, we decided as a government to bring about order and this was a collective decision by Cabinet to bring order.”
Kasukuwere was arrested in 2018 for fraudulently dishing out vast tracts of land without following due process during his tenure but was later acquitted of the charges.
The Land Commission established that the sale of urban State land, planning and development took place on 91 farms, which were acquired by the Lands Ministry and handed over for urban development to the Local Government Ministry.
Sale of urban State land, planning and development also took place on 79 farms, which were acquired by government before the farms were handed over for urban development.
The Commission recommended that more than 400 land cases be further investigated.