Gov sets up Committee to prosecute land barons

President Mnangagwa speaks to the Land Commission chairperson Justice Tendai Uchena, while Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi look on, at Munhumutapa Offices in Harare.

Mirror Reporter

Masvingo – Government has set up an Implementation Committee to prosecute dozens of land barons who were involved in shady urban land deals from 2005, a statement by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has said.

This follows findings and recommendations made by a Commission of Inquiry into the matter of the sale of State land set up by President Mnangagwa in 2018.

The Implementation Committee will also deal decisively with cases of aggrieved home seekers who lost millions of dollars to the illegal land barons due to double allocation of residential stands and other fraudulent activities, said the statement.

The Committee whose composition is yet to be made public will implement numerous other recommendations made by the seven-member Justice Uchena Commission including the review of laws on urban planning and periodic reports to Cabinet.

The statement said that Implementation Committee members will be deployed to provinces soon and they will work together with carefully chosen members of the Police, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Housing and Social Amenities’ and prosecutors.

It said that there will be further investigations and litigation of matters recommended for prosecution by the Inquiry.

“The Implementation Committee shall co-ordinate and work closely with relevant institutions to facilitate further investigation and litigation of matters recommended for prosecution by the Inquiry. It will also advise and avail appropriate remedies for aggrieved beneficiaries and other actors in urban State land administration.

“It will also identify, advise and facilitate laws and policy review on urban development matters recommended for prosecution by the Inquiry,” read the statement.

The Uchena Commission conducted hearings and field visits throughout the country in terms of section 2 (1) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act (Chapter 10:07).

The report opened a can of worms in terms of illegal transactions of Urban State land by land barons with networks and connections running through Government departments. This saw hundreds of home seekers losing money to unregistered land developers and shanty settlements without standard services i.e. water, sewer and roads mushrooming throughout the country.

After completing the inquiry, the Uchena Commission handed its report to President Mnangagwa who promised the full wrath of the law against those found guilty of illegally trading in State land.

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