Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mega land fraud snowballs into national security crisis

The Botswana Police Crime Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) has cracked Botswana’s biggest land scam in which a whole village has been parceled out through fraudulent allocations.


Investigations led by CRIB Director, Nunu Lesetedi have exposed a crime syndicate involving government officials in a mega land fraud in which almost all plots in Mmopane village, especially Mmopane Phase One were allocated fraudulently.

There are fears that the land fraud may snowball into a national security issue as close to 100 Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Botswana Police Service officers are among the more than 200 complicit buyers in the shady land dealings. Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that so far 50 BDF officers and more than 30 police officers have been identified as complicit in the shady land deals and some have already secured loans and developed the plots.

The state is expected to apply for an order restraining all complicit buyers from desposing off the properties which are likely to be seized by the state.

The investigation team met at Gaborone West Police Station last Thursday to analyse official documents that will form part of the evidence.

Nunu Lesetedi confirmed the investigations but would not discuss details. “Once this issue goes out in the public, this might compromise our investigations,” he said. The area Member of Parliament and Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Vincent Seretse also said he was aware of the allegations but referred further questions to the Mogoditshane sub land board.

Public relations officer of Mogoditshane land board Dikeledi was unable to respond at the time of going to press.

The current investigations by CRIB concides with the DCEC’s investigation on close to other 300 cases of fraudulent allocations by Mogoditshane sub land board. The DCEC has been investigating Mogoditshane sub landboard since 2005 DCEC, where over 12000 plot files have been assessed and more than  300 files were seized for further investigations. A number of the cases have been forwarded to the DPP for prosecution.

Meanwhile Francistown high court judge Lot Moroka recently sent a strong message to land criminal syndicates and ordered four former employees of the Department of Lands who had formed themselves into a cartel that sold land to scores of complicit buyers within Francistown and Kasane to pay Botswana Government P700 000 each.   The four former employees of the Department of Lands in the case are Priscilla Ursula Mokgokong, Julius Selemogwe, Reuben Tshule and Terrence Modikwe.

Scores of complicit buyers in the land scam have forfeited all their properties to the state subject to the restraining order of September 17, 2017 which interdicted the buyers from disposing of the properties pending final determination of the application before the court.


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