Home » Governance » Land Seekers Duped of $61k

Land seekers have been duped of more than $61 000, cattle and goats in separate illegal land deals involving employees from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement. Eight employees allegedly sold land to desperate people in need of farms. Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Dr Douglas Mombeshora confirmed the incident, adding the suspects had been suspended from work.

Police are investigating the case.

“All the cases were related to corruption involving illegal selling of land. The employees were working as syndicates with some people who were not employed in the ministry. I believe the money collected from the land seekers could be above $61 000. Some of the land seekers paid for land using cattle and goats. They were made to pay money ranging from $100 to $7 000 per individual,” he said.

The employees are from Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland South and one from the ministry’s headquarters in Harare.

Minister Mombeshora said the employees were arrested after the affected people made reports.

In some cases, the illegal land dealers were trapped. Minister Mombeshora discouraged people from seeking farms through unprocedural means.

“It is difficult to deal with issues of corruption. This case involves two parties, the land officer and the land seeker,” he said. “Most of the people who were duped knew that what they were doing was illegal.

“We have been to the districts and provinces telling people on the correct procedures of acquiring land.

“One has to apply and be on the waiting list. Land is for free and no one should pay any money even for transport or fuel. The moment someone asks for money it becomes an illegal deal,” he said.

Dr Mombeshora said land seekers were sometimes forced to pay for transport and fuel costs by illegal land dealers.

There are more than 500 000 people on the waiting list.

Source : The Herald