Govt Threatens To Arrest Welshman’s Qoki Scam Type Directors
30 April 2024
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Zimbabwe Government to Arrest Illicit Land Buyers and Sellers in New Crackdown.

By Farai D Hove | In a resolute initiative to curtail the rampant illegal land transactions that have beset Zimbabwe, the government is setting the stage for stringent legal measures that will impose mandatory imprisonment for both sellers and buyers of illicit land. This policy shift was revealed by Engineer Tafadzwa Muguti, Permanent Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), during a Zimpapers-organized Land Matters Indaba held on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

Eng. Muguti underscored that under the new legal framework, both parties involved in corrupt land acquisitions would face severe consequences. “Never again should the law target only those who illegally sell land while letting the buyers go free,” he stated. This approach marks a significant policy shift aimed at dismantling the network of corruption surrounding land transactions.

The conference spotlighted the issue of illegal settlements encroaching on prime agricultural and peri-urban land. Discussions, led by dignitaries such as Professor Obert Jiri, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, covered a range of topics including land distribution, economic development, and the roles of traditional leaders.

Highlighting the severity of land crimes, Eng. Muguti proposed penalties harsher than those for stock theft, stressing the irreplaceable nature of land: “People get seven to 14 years for livestock theft. What about something that God doesn’t make anymore?”

A pertinent example of the type of illicit dealings targeted by this new crackdown is the Qoki scam, involving Professor Welshman Ncube’s organization. The Qoki scandal, which surfaced in the UK, involved deceptive practices under the guise of a community interest company, misleading numerous investors, predominantly women, into purchasing nonexistent land titles. Spearheaded by Sithule Tshuma, the scheme promised investors land ownership and development opportunities, only to entrap them in endless cycles of payments without delivering the promised land titles.

Eng. Muguti lamented past practices where land was politically weaponized, noting that such misuse had inflicted considerable damage on the nation. He criticized the historical use of land as a political campaign tool and stressed the need for rectification to prevent further exploitation.

The session also addressed the arrest of Joice Munamati, a senior government official in Manicaland, by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). Munamati was implicated in a fraudulent sale of a 32.5-hectare plot of state land, illustrating the government’s increasing vigilance against land-related corruption.

In conclusion, Eng. Muguti called on the media to play a proactive role in exposing corrupt land deals and upholding journalistic integrity to combat the erosion of land value and ownership rights in Zimbabwe.

This policy reform signifies a crucial step towards improving land governance and combating corruption in Zimbabwe, with the government now taking a comprehensive stance against both the facilitators and beneficiaries of fraudulent land transactions.