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Land barons in hot soup


Harare (New Ziana) – The full wrath of the law will descend on those implicated in the corrupt sale of urban state land since 2005 without fear or favour, President Emerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

A six-member commission appointed by President Mnangagwa last year to investigate the sale of urban state land on Tuesday revealed that the government had been prejudiced of US$3.4 billion in mostly corrupt state land sales over the past 15 years.

The commission, chaired by Justice Tendai Uchena, found that vast tracts of state land were corruptly sold to various beneficiaries during the period across the country.

President Mnangagwa said the report contained serious malpractices which the government needed to address urgently.

“Yesterday I received the report of the commission of inquiry into the sale of state land in urban areas, the report contains glaring excesses which we must correct and bring the guilty parties to account without fear or favour,” he told Zanu PF Politburo members.

“The government, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must interest themselves in the findings of that report.”

President Mnangagwa said the ruling party was concerned that some citizens continued to live under bad conditions.

“Meanwhile, we as a party will not allow a situation where 39 years after independence, some of our citizens live in squalid conditions with no clean water, sanitation, roads and other social amenities.

“The party stands with the victims who suffered and lost their hard earned money at the hands of these unscrupulous and corrupt and greedy land barons. The law will take its course without fear or favour,” he said.

The commission, which held public hearings across the country’s 10 provinces, established that the land was sold to connected individuals or was obtained corruptly through, among other ways, abuse of power.

Revenues from the sale of land, most of which was not properly developed as required by government when it was sold, went into the pockets of corrupt land barons and state officials, the commission established.

The commission also found that politicians were partly to blame for the mess as they dished out land through dubious means.

A large number of people have been duped of hard earned monies by land barons who sold the same pieces of land to many people.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa said the upcoming Zanu PF National People’s Conference was expected to provide further impetus to the government’s economic recovery programmes.

“This defining conference must be used to further mobilise our people towards economic productivity and guide our course as we accelerate our quest to grow our economy and improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.

“Thematic chairpersons must therefore ensure that conference discussions are accordingly guided.”

He said the government was ready to support empowerment projects which help improve the lives of the people.

“Government will facilitate production, inclined projects which seek to empower our people, the days of welfare and hand-outs are gone our people must be encouraged to work hard.”

New Ziana

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