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Govt warns land barons

STAFF WRITER

Land barons selling State land are criminals and face arrests, government has warned as it moves to stop the illegal parcelling out of land to desperate home seekers.

Zimbabwe has been persistently dogged by challenges of increased demand for housing. It is estimated that over 1.3m people are on the housing list, creating a fertile ground for land barons to fleece desperate home seekers of their hard earned money.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said the increasing demand for housing has led to some unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the situation and have made themselves local authorities parcelling out land to desperate home seekers.

“It is therefore our position as Government that all those politicians who are invading land and creating bogus cooperatives are criminals who deserve to be arrested and prosecuted for fraud, corruption and land invasions,” Moyo said in a statement.

“Our authorities in Harare are working with security agencies to ensure that we arrest all those involved in land scams. Land developers who have failed to deliver their obligations of government contracts of developing and servicing land whilst selling stands and pocketing the funds for themselves will be subjected to similar laws of the land.”

He said land barons have to date parcelled out state land, local authority land, and even private land across the country.

Moyo said what started off as a community driven housing development programme by the government through housing cooperatives has also now been hijacked by greedy individuals who are amassing wealth at the expense of our citizens.

“The majority have over the years been collecting hundreds of thousands of US dollars from home seekers purporting to have government allocated land and some stating it’s for servicing of roads, water and sewer systems. Many of the so-called cooperatives are now mere Ponzi schemes,” he said.

Moyo said some politicians are abusing their party regalia and positions invading land while “name-dropping His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) and other high-ranking party officials as well as opposition parties”.

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