FAKE WAR VETS DUPE 500 IN LAND SALES newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

FAKE WAR VETS DUPE 500 IN LAND SALES newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

A gang of land scammers who allegedly posed as war veterans and sold land to more than 500 people looking for farmland are being hunted around the small farming town of Banket in Mashonaland West.

Permanent Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Professor Obert Jere yesterday urged the public to follow proper procedures when acquiring land, adding that government would ascertain the alleged perpetrators, identified only as Cdes Mpofu, Sigauke, Chiyangwa, Chimuti and Sister. Nyamuziwa, none of whom hail from Mashonaland West, will be put on trial.

Professor Jerry said that the five formed three groups on the WhatsApp application through which they communicated with their victims, who were forced to give up various amounts ranging from US$1,000 to US$10,000 in exchange for lands of different sizes ranging from 100 to 110 hectares.

The scam started in 2018.

“We have 500 people who were duped into illegal land deals in Mashonaland West after they were promised 100 to 110 hectares of land. The people were put into groups on WhatsApp for easy communication with others to complete questionable forms allegedly brought from the Ministry of Lands. Some paid up to US$1,000.

“We have people from the diaspora, who were also promised land and ordered to pay. “This group was promised the land between 2018 and 2019,” Professor Geary said.

Professor Jerry said that some of the deceived people recently contacted the ministry seeking explanations on why their lands were not allocated to them, and with their information the ministry blew up the scam game and is now helping to hunt down the gang.

“So far, more than 500 individuals have realized that they have been taken on a ride. They cannot identify the leaders of the gang and some of them do not even know the leaders of the gang but we have identified the names of these leaders.”

A person looking for agricultural land must apply to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and fill out land application forms.

These forms are distributed to the district offices after which applicants will be considered at the district office level.

From there they go to the governorate office.

Those being considered are referred to the Minister of State for Governorate Affairs and Devolution to recommend allocation. This is the general procedure any farm finder should follow.

Professor Jerry noted that land issues are only dealt with in his ministry and they do not use agents.

“The ministry does not make you pay for anything. If you apply for land, the ministry does not make you pay any facilitation fees until you are considered for the land. While your approval is pending, the ministry does not make you pay for anything,” he said.

The only money people pay is when land is allocated to them.

A1 farmers pay US$20 per year in foreign currency or its local currency equivalent. A2 farmers pay US$3 per hectare.

Prior to this, there had been no payment to anyone by a land applicant, and the Ministry did not operate any agents in relation to land applications.

So anyone who sees land being sold and anyone who sees land being sold should know immediately that it is fake.

Victims of the Banket scam told the Herald they learned the hard way that one must follow proper procedures when acquiring land.

Mr Mikel Sambo, from the Tinwald suburb of Harare, urged other land seekers to follow the procedures.

He said he paid US$150 to land scammers in Banket for some “administrative” issues.

“For the past two or three years, we thought we were about to get offer letters from the ministry. We paid some money that was allegedly administrative fees to make sure we got the land.

“We paid that money and some fuel and subsistence fees to those who were linking among other things. We thought it would be a two-week process. So we started asking ourselves what was really going on because nothing was coming true. We were frustrated by the clarification we received from the Permanent Secretary. “Since today I have no hope but at least now I know what to do,” Sambo said.

Bernard Shumba, from Warren Park 1, said he was convinced they would eventually get the land.

“We had high hopes because we heard there were more land offers in Banquet so we paid US$150. People have been scammed with a lot of money. I have hope to get the land one day. We came to see the officials because the time frame is taking a long time.” .

The government also warned the public against resettling themselves on agricultural land, saying such a move would lead to prosecution.

According to the Land Commission Act, occupying state land without legal authority in the form of a permit, letter of offer or lease agreement is a criminal offense under the Land Act (Subsequent Provisions).

In a recent notice, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxius Masuka, said the government would not regulate those who settle on state land without procedurally issued tenure documents, adding that the full wrath of the law would be applied in such cases of illegal settlements. Legal.

He said land applications should be submitted to district land offices where applicants are given list allocation numbers and applicants should use these numbers to track the progress of their applications.

Veterans have a 20 percent quota and have a separate order register, while young people have a 20 percent quota and a separate list.

Land applicants for whom land allocation is recommended must wait for tenure documents before occupying the recommended plots of land.

The ministry recently said that all local authorities must immediately stop selling communal and agricultural land.

So far, 99 percent of the land has been distributed and the government is targeting abandoned and underutilized lands and farms. Announce

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