THE six-member commission appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the corrupt sale of land in urban areas across the country will begin hearings next week, it has been learnt.
In a statement, secretary to the commission Virginia Mabiza said the process would take a year.
“Pursuant to the swearing-in of the Commission of Inquiry, the inaugural meeting of the Commission of Inquiry held on Thursday February 8, 2018 resolved that the commission officially starts hearings from February 19, 2018,” she said.
Senior Zanu PF leaders and councillors, including opposition members, have been implicated in massive backhand land sales and allocations prejudicing the State of millions in possible revenue.
Most of the land was parcelled out ostensibly as part of the chaotic and often violent land reform programme.
Mnangagwa appointed the commission in terms of Statutory Instrument 11 of 2018, an amendment of Statutory Instrument 102 of 2017, establishing a commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005.
The commission was sworn in on February 1.
Mabiza added: “The Commission of Inquiry will be held for a period of 12 months from the date of swearing-in of the commissioners and shall, among other functions, conduct visitations, conduct hearings after summoning witnesses and record proceedings and minute testimonies where necessary. Accordingly, the commission kindly requests maximum possible co-operation from the Zimbabwean public and institutions during the period which the commission will be undertaking its business”.
Ex-President Robert Mugabe a few years ago accused former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere of corruptly parcelling out land to televangelist and Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries front-man Walter Magaya in a shady $100 000 deal.
Land barons, mainly linked to the ruling Zanu PF party, have often been accused of forming terror gangs based in informal settlements to intimidate their political foes.
Meanwhile Chombo who served for 15 years as the minister of local government has been implicated in many corruption deals regarding the illegal sale of state land, although he was never convicted, let alone arrested. However, soon after the fall of former president Robert Mugabe, Chombo was arrested and charged with fraud, criminal abuse of office and contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act. The cases are still pending at the courts. Chombo amassed vast tracts of prime land across the country by grabbing the 20% commonage land which developers are mandated by the Local Government Act to reserve for the construction of government premises such as police stations, schools and offices, Zimbabwe Independent sources said.