Former Midlands PA arrested over US$45 000 land scam

Elizabeth Mashiri
Midlands Bureau
Gweru – Former Midlands Provincial Administrator and now Mashonaland West Director of Local Governance Cecilia Chitiyo was on Friday picked up by ZACC over US$45 000 lands scam.
Chitiyo and three accomplices who are senior Government officials allegedly charged land barons US$5 000 each as administrative fees for getting land from the State.
The accomplices arrested together with Chitiyo are former Director of Works Matilda Manhambo (63), former Provincial Planning officer Chisainerwa Chibururu (51) and former Provincial Chief Lands Officer Joseph Shoko (55).
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) spokesperson John Makamure confirmed the arrest in a statement.
The four are being charged with Criminal Abuse of Duty.
It is alleged that sometime in 2008, former Midlands Provincial Governor, Jason Machaya who is already serving a prison sentence on matters related to State land set up a Provincial Committee for Housing in line with the Government’s National Housing Programme of 2004 to 2008 which was aimed at easing housing shortages in urban areas.
“The committee, which was chaired by Machaya identified and allocated land to land developers who would have applied for the land for urban development.
The accused allegedly connived to include in the offer-letters the payment of US$5 000-00 administrative fees as one of the requirements,” reads the statement.On different occasions, the land developers were allocated land to develop and were allegedly made to pay US$5 000 for each allocation made, amounts the accused persons could not account for.
At least six land developers were prejudiced US$45 000-00 in the scam.
Charges leading to the arrests emanated from an enquiry carried out by the Justice Tendai Uchena Lands Commission.

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