Fraudsters soil Shiri's name

HARARE - The ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has launched a manhunt for fraudsters who are abusing the name of its principal officer, retired chief air marshal Perrance Shiri, to fleece desperate land seekers of their hard-earned cash.

In a statement, the deputy minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, David Marapira, said they were unscrupulous fraudsters who were masquerading as Shiri in order to dupe applicants for land of their money.

The fraudsters request their victims, through the phone, to send varying amounts of money through EcoCash numbers registered under the names Mary Shiri and Mercey Shiri as administration fees towards the final allocation of land.

“The modus operandi behind the fraudulent activities is that several individuals have been phoned and a lot are still being phoned by an individual or individuals who misrepresent themselves as Honourable minister Perrance Shiri,” reads part of the statement.

“The bogus person(s) would communicate that the recipient’s application for land has been approved or that its processing would have reached an advanced stage.
Depending on the size of the land purportedly earmarked for allocation, the fraudsters would go on to advise their victims to urgently pay varying amounts of money through EcoCash or electronic transfer, in the name of administrative fees towards the final allocation of the land”.

Marapira said Shiri was not related to the EcoCash account holders and does not even know them.

“It should be noted that the minister does not handle any administrative transactions on behalf of the ministry. It must also be clear that no administrative fees or whatever form of levy is charged by the ministry towards the processing of applications for land,” he said, adding that those behind the fraud should be brought to book before they continue duping people of their hard-earned cash.

He said the correct procedure to get land allocated starts with recommendations from district lands committees.

After the recommendation, the provincial committee endorses the application which then goes to the ministry of State for Provincial Affairs that forwards the final paperwork to the Lands ministry for approval.

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