A seven-member Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005 appointed by former President Robert Mugabe last year, took their oaths of office yesterday.
The Commission is chaired by Justice Tendai Uchena and includes Mr Andrew Mlalazi, Mr Stephen Chakaipa, Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Dr Heather Chingono, Ms Vimbai Nyemba and Ms Petronella Musarurwa, while the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabiza is its secretary.
Justice Uchena said the commission will work fairly as mandated.
“The work of the Commission is to inquire fully, impartially and efficiently and report to the President so that’s exactly what we will do,” Justice Uchena said.
The Commission of Inquiry is expected to complete its work in September with an option of a further three months extension, with a comprehensive report expected to be produced and presented to the President at the end of the inquiry.
The Commission’s terms of reference shall be:
(i) To investigate and identify all State land in and around urban areas that was acquired and allocated to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for urban development since 2005;
(ii) To investigate and ascertain the status of such land in terms of ownership, occupation and development; (c) to investigate methods of acquisition and/or allocation by current occupants and owners of such land;
(iii) To investigate and ascertain the actors involved in allocations, occupation and use of such land;
(v) To conduct visitations where necessary, summon witnesses, record proceedings, minute testimonies and document, consider and manage all information gathered in order to arrive at appropriate findings and recommendations to the President;
(vi) To investigate any other matter, which the Commission of Inquiry may deem appropriate and relevant to the inquiry; to report to the President in writing, the result of the inquiry.
The appointment of the Commission followed the mushrooming of illegal settlements in most urban areas, most of which were established from the illegal sale of State land by land barons.