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‘Fake chief’ up for land fraud

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A 56-YEAR-OLD Shurugwi man was taken to court yesterday for allegedly masquerading as a traditional leader and allocating land to 43 desperate home-seekers in exchange for cash and livestock.

By Simon Phiri

Vhukuzani Zingwe insisted that he was a legitimate chief installed by the late Chief Nhema more than a decade ago.

He admitted to having received various amounts of money and livestock from the land beneficiaries.

“I never went around searching for these people, they came to me seeking land and I helped them accordingly since I’m a chief in the area,” Zingwe told Shurugwi magistrate Evia Matura.

But prosecutor Bertha Bore disputed Zingwe’s claims saying Shurugwi district only had three chiefs — Banga, Nhema and Ndanga.

The State alleges that sometime between 2006 and early this year, Zingwe received a total of $798 and ZW$200 from villagers he had allocated land in the Kodobo resettlement area.

The matter came to light when, on February 2, a land committee comprising Shurugwi district administrator and officials from the Lands ministry ordered the complainants to vacate their illegally acquired land by June 1.

The committee reportedly told the villagers that Zingwe was an imposter and had no right to charge and allocate land belonging to the State.

Zingwe’s trial was adjourned to June 10.

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