Lands Minister, Anxious Masuka has admitted there is rampant corruption among ministry officials, who parcel out farms after receiving bribes.
He said the lands department had become a haven of corruption where criminal cartels of officers, demanded bribes for land allocations.
Masuka was addressing senior lands officers in Gweru at a meeting on land distribution and management.
Over 250 000 people are on the waiting list for land.
Masuka told the land officers:
The Lands department now has a bad reputation. The department has degenerated into a haven of corruption activities as officers demand kickbacks in land allocations and that is very bad. We need to clean that image now by doing the right things in a professional manner.
There are land officers whose offices are entered only by those with something in their pockets. Something for something and nothing for nothing, and that is corruption in land allocation. Corruption, corrupt activities must stop henceforth.
As a civil servant, I think you should strive to leave a lasting legacy in the area of operation. Now we have land officers who set targets, for example, to have two Mercedes Benz vehicles in two years from corruption, which is wrong.
He added Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora, who want to invest in land back home, were the main targets of the cartels.
Masuka said he was receiving phone calls from land seekers, who reveal to him their schedule number, which should be confidential details only known by land officers.
Masuka said land was an economic enabler that must be allocated to deserving people for the agriculture sector to contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.