THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), headed by Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, has instituted investigations into the operations of the Lands Commission in Marondera.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The probe comes after reports that the latter has become a cartel through which some government officials are seizing land from vulnerable farmers and fraudulently selling it for personal gain.
This followed a report by Goromonzi farmer, Richard Mandiranga, whose offer letter for Subdivision 2 of Dana A Farm in Goromonzi District of Mashonaland East province, was unceremoniously revoked without notice and the farm handed over to one Jannet Choto under unclear circumstances.
Mandiranga was issued with an offer letter for the piece of land in May 2012, but in December of the same year he received a letter of withdrawal. In February 2013, the same piece of land was offered to Choto.
Last week, Zacc officials visited the farms in dispute and after investigating the issues, made a report which is expected to be deliberated on before further action can be taken against the offenders.
“The Ministry of Lands, Marondera office, issued a revocation letter to Richard Mandiranga over his farm situated in Goromonzi. The revocation letter was issued without the issuance of a notice to revoke. The farm was given to Jannet Choto, who is the child to Bernard Choto, who is believed to have bribed the personnel of the Ministry of Lands so that his child would obtain the farm,” the report read.
On September 24, last year, Mandiranga wrote a letter of complaint to Lands minister Perrance Shiri, which was copied to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, raising issues against the Lands Commission arguing its decision in resolving the farm dispute between himself, and his neighbours Bernard Choto and one Gwarada, was unjust, unfair and biased against him.
After receiving a copy of the letter of complaint, Chiwenga then ordered Zacc to investigate the matter.
According to Mandiranga, when the issue of the revocation of his offer letter by the lands office in Marondera was brought to the Lands Commission’s attention, the latter did not address the concerns raised by Mandiranga, but instead ruled that he had encroached into somebody’s farm and had been occupying the farmhouse unlawfully.
“I feel I have been treated unfairly and have not been offered satisfactory assistance from the ministry in protecting my rights over a subdivision of Dana A Farm situated in Goromonzi, which subdivision I acquired by way of an offer letter …,” Mandiranga said in his letter of complaint to Lands Commission chair
“What is, however, shocking and mindboggling is the manner in which the Ministry of Lands (Agriculture, Water, Climate) and Rural Resettlement has handled the matter. As opposed to bringing clarity into the situation the ministry has brought more confusion into what started as a simple matter.”
Mandiranga further said although he did not receive a favourable response from the Lands Commission, the issue involving the fraudulent revocation and issuance of offer letters was brought to the attention of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Marondera, where inspector Ngoma instructed Constable Nyengera to investigate the matter, but the same died a natural death.
“I, therefore, wish to appeal to you honourable minister and attach hereto my earlier letter of complaint against Choto and one Gwarada, which was not taken into consideration or made reference to in the Commission’s deliberations. I believe honourable minister that it is your sincere intention to see to it that justice is done,” he said.
Mandiranga said he employs at least 20 workers at the farm, who are all paid on a monthly basis and has also been operating a butchery and an abattoir since 1984.