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SCORES of desperate home seekers in Marondera may have lost thousands of dollars after falling into a housing scam under which they were illegally sold State land.

Beneficiaries of the GarikaiHlalani Kuhle housing stands are, together with the Marondera town council employees and estate agents, illegally selling residential stands to unsuspecting home seekers in the town.

The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is warning prospective buyers to desist from purchasing the residential stands as they are on State land which, by law, is not for sale.

The stands are being sold for between US$1,000 and US$3,000.

“Garikai stands are not to be sold under any circumstances as they are State land, which is under lease and whose beneficiaries are supposed to pay a lease fee of US$50 per annum,” a public noticed dated 01 December and signed by the Public Works director for Mashonaland East, Engineer Marivara reads.

In 2005, thousands of people especially Zanu PF functionaries were allocated land by the government after it had demolished houses in all urban areas under the controversial Murambatsvina programme.

However, nearly 10 years after, most of the beneficiaries of the GarikaiHlalani Kuhle programme are failing to construct houses due to lack of financial resources and have resorted to selling stands.

But the government is threatening to arrest anyone caught selling the stands.

“The selling of State land is a criminal act that warrants prosecution in the courts of law. Section 7 of the offer letter that was given to the beneficiaries at the inception of the programme clearly states ‘That you are not allowed to sellcede the stand until the final transfer of the property into your name’.”

“Therefore, members of the public are urged to be on the lookout for such criminal activities,” the public notice reads.

The illegal sale of land is commonplace throughout the country and in almost every case senior government officials are directly involved. Local government minister Ignatius Chombo has been linked to many land disputes in and around Harare. Thousands of people have lost their life savings to numerous scams.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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