Probe land barons: Biti

HARARE - The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti has said government must set up a judicial commission to investigate suspected land barons.

Writing on his Twitter account, the former Finance minister said it is time the contentious issue of land barons, which has created town planning nightmares and seen scores of desperate home seekers lose hard-earned money, is decisively dealt with.

“There must be a judicial commission of inquiry into #LandBarons & the allocation of urban housing land #NotoLabdBarons,” he wrote.

His sentiments come after the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC called for an investigation into land barons following claims by businessman-cum-politician Philip Chiyangwa that Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere demanded a $5 million bribe to facilitate a land deal.

Chiyangwa sensationally claimed that Kasukuwere wanted the hefty sum for him to speed up the process of compensating the property mogul for land compulsorily acquired by government to resettle the homeless.

Chiyangwa said he had purchased 1 286 hectares of land at Nyarungu Estates, Stoneridge and Orda farms from private owners.

Last week, Kasukuwere suspended 25 Chitungwiza councillors on corruption allegations, including illegal land deals.

This comes after a Chitungwiza internal audit report exposed massive stands scandal implicating the mayor, councillors and staffers.

The report showed that several councillors and workers had assumed the role of the planning department by conniving to identify undeveloped stands and submitting land for verification and allocation to the department of housing in a well-orchestrated scam.

According to the report, the town’s mayor Phillip Mutoti’s four-year-old son was allegedly allocated a stand and he later sold it while Zanu PF councillor Charamba Mlambo acquired more than 40 stands.

The report also showed that a total of 99 stands were allocated to councillors and staff.

The audit said the councillors and council staff took advantage of the absence of a properties database for Chitungwiza.

The report recommended that culprits fingered in the stands scam be charged as per the council’s code of conduct.

Recently, National Housing ministry permanent secretary George Mlilo said Local Government authorities were scared of reining-in land barons as they are spooked by the politicians’ names given to the rogue developers’ cooperatives.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.