SW Radio Africa (London)

22 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Land Ministry Officials Implicated in Allocation Scam

Officials in the Ministry of Lands have become the latest government members to be implicated in widespread corruption, after it emerged they fleeced hundreds of people out of thousands of dollars.

A report in the Herald newspaper names former ZANU PF councillor for Mayo in Makoni District, James Munetsi, who allegedly promised to assist about 240 people acquire farms and plots. The report states that these people, mainly located in the Diaspora, were asked to pay a 'fee' of up to $2,000 to begin the land allocation process.

Munetsi reportedly said he could influence land allocation officials, and needed the fees to do so. He then stopped communications with the victims of the scam, after being paid.

A local church, Faith in God Ministries, allegedly fell victim to this scam which the Herald claims "might be a tip of the iceberg." They are believed to be a handful of aspiring farmers duped by such scams involving Land Ministry officials and politicians.

Munetsi is the latest ZANU PF official meanwhile to be named in a series of exposés uncovering the extent of corruption in Zimbabwe.

The reports have surfaced predominantly in the state media, raising suspicions about the real purpose of the corruption claims. Some observers have questioned if the reports are more to do with the infighting rocking ZANU PF than a real commitment to eradicating corruption.

Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba of the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa) told SW Radio Africa that more needs to be done to stamp out corruption.

"We need a total paradigm and cultural shift in governance and education, and we need a new breed of leaders in public office. I have never believed that the government has the political will to tackle corruption," Chaumba said.

He added: "People who are highly connected politically are running the syndicates and the bodies tasked with tackling corruption are highly comprised too. So it is only small fish, if anyone, who are caught."

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