UPDATED: 75 land barons arrested Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in chairperson Justice Tendai Uchena (second from left) address the media while flanked by commissioners Mr Steven Chakaipa (left) Dr Heather Chingono (second from right) and Mrs Petronella Musarurwa during a press conference in Harare today. (Picture by Memory Mangombe)

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
AN  inquiry into the illegal sale of State land in urban areas is now 60 percent complete and so far, 75 land barons have been arrested for fraud, theft of trust funds and other corruption-related offences.

Government appointed a commission to investigate the irregular sale of State land in and around urban areas in February this year.

It is chaired by Supreme Court judge, Justice Tendai Uchena.

The commission’s findings will be given to President Mnangagwa.

Of the 75 suspects, 25 have appeared in court and their cases are still pending.

Parallel to the public hearings, the chief investigator in the commission of inquiry, Superintendent Godfree Muza and his team was instituting criminal probe where prima facie evidence points to a criminal offence.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Justice Uchena said the commission had covered six provinces where investigations had been conducted on 79 farms.

“Therefore we have made inquiries on 79 urban State land units or farms. Currently, we are working on producing reports for the six provinces we have covered.

“The commission’s outstanding work in is four provinces which are as follows: Harare, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Midlands.

“The provinces covered are Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North, Matabeland South and Bulawayo,” said Justice Uchena.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Press briefing, Superintendent Muza said 75 land barons had been arrested and 25 taken to court.

“Some 25 matters are pending before the courts while about 50 others are still under investigation,” he said.

Supt Muza’s list of criminal cases features prominent names like Innocent Hamandishe, who is facing five cases of land related criminal cases at Caledonia Farm.

Also on the list is former Zanu-PF youth leader Mubuso Chinguno, who faces allegations of swindling home seekers in Chipinge.

The barons face charges including theft of trust property, receiving money from cooperative members and converting it to personal use and selling non-existent stands.

Justice Uchena said the commission was now compiling reports in respect of the first six provinces.

The commission, according to Justice Uchena, will move to the outstanding four provinces in February next year.

The other five commissioners are Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Mr Adrew Mlalazi, Mr Steve Chakaipa, Dr Heather Chingono and Mrs Petronella Musarurwa.

Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabiza heads the commission’s secretariat.

At the end of the inquiry, findings and recommendations will be submitted to the President.

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