Com­mis­sion of In­quiry’s hear­ing pe­riod ex­tended

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Char­ity Musareva

PRES­I­DENT Mnan­gagwa has ex­tended the ten­ure of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry in­ves­ti­gat­ing the sale of State land since 2005 by nine months to give it am­ple time to wrap up the probe, it has been learnt.

The seven-mem­ber Jus­tice Tendai Uchena-led team was sworn in on Feb- ru­ary 1 this year.

Al­though its term is sup­posed to ex­pire on Jan­uary 31 next year, the com­mis­sion ap­plied for an ex­ten­sion to com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tions and hear­ings in four prov­inces that re­main out­stand­ing.

Min­istry of Jus­tice, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Mrs Vir­ginia Mab­hiza con­firmed the devel­op­ment to The Sun­day Mail yes­ter­day.

“An ex­ten­sion has been sought and granted by His Ex­cel­lency, Pres­i­dent E.D. Mnan­gagwa, for a fur­ther nine months for the com­mis­sion to com­plete the four re­main­ing prov­inces.

“The pe­riod of ex­ten­sion will be gazetted,” she said.

In a state­ment last week, Jus­tice Uchena is­sued a strong-worded warn­ing to prop­erty de­vel­op­ers and mem­bers of the pub­lic who con­tinue trad­ing in State land.

“We have noted with con­cern that the pub­lic con­tin­ues to pur­chase ur­ban State land from co­op­er­a­tives and de­vel­op­ers who fail to fol­low due process in the sell­ing, al­lo­ca­tion, devel­op­ment and ser­vic­ing of ur­ban State land.

“Co­op­er­a­tives, de­vel­op­ers, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­di­vid­ual State land sell­ers and any other State land ac­tors are warned against con­tin­ued sale of State land in cases where the com­mis­sion has ex­pressed reser­va­tions,” said Jus­tice Uchena.

The terms of ref­er­ence for the com­mis­sion in­clude in­ves­ti­gat­ing and as­cer­tain­ing the sta­tus of land in terms of own­er­ship, oc­cu­pa­tion and devel­op­ment.

To date, in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been con­ducted in six prov­inces — Bu­l­awayo, Mashona­land East, Mata­bele­land North, Mata­bele­land South, Masvingo, Man­i­ca­land.

The ex­ten­sion will al­low the team to comb Harare, Mashona­land West, Mashona­land Cen­tral and Mid­lands.

The com­mis­sion con­ducted vis­i­ta­tions where nec­es­sary, sum­moned wit­nesses and recorded pro­ceed­ings and tes­ti­monies. The find­ings will be handed over to Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa, who has since put land barons on no­tice.

Where prima fa­cie cases for pos­si­ble crim­i­nal con­duct are dic­tated, the ev­i­dence is be­ing fun­nelled to law en­force­ment agents.

Jus­tice Uchena is be­ing as­sisted by Mr An­drew Mlalazi, Mr Stephen Chakaipa, Dr Tari­sai Mu­tangi, Dr Heather Chin­gono, Ms Vim­bai Nyemba and Ms Petronella Musarurwa.

Mrs Mab­hiza is sec­re­tary to the com­mis­sion.

Mrs Mab­hiza

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