EIGHT people, recently arrested for illegally occupying part of businessman-cum-politician, Phillip Chiyangwa’s Sinoia Citrus Estates, have been fined $2 500 each or face 30 days imprisonment.
The illegal settlers; Soul Machingura (42), Sarah Samhu (40), Tsitsi Ganyaupfu (26), Klite Musiiwa (16), Mitchel Makope (21), Maria Muzenda (23), Sarudzai Gwededza (37), and Chido Chonzi (30), were convicted on their own guilty plea when they appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Tamari Chibindi.
They were facing charges of contravening the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, which pertains to the “occupation of gazetted land without lawful authority.”
The sentence against the teenage offender, Musiiwa, was wholly suspended for five years on condition the accused does not, within that period, commit a similar offence.
The rest were given time to pay the $2 500 fine each on or before October 22, 2021, which is also the last date by which they should have vacated the farm.
The complainant was Maxwell Muvondori in his capacity as Makonde district lands officer.
The state, led by Review Nikisi said on June 18, 2004, Subdivision 1 of Sinoia Citrus Estates located in Makonde district was gazetted by the government under Order 117 of the Government Gazette.
After gazetting the farm, Chiyangwa, a Zanu PF Central Committee member and Zvimba South MP, was allocated the land and issued with an offer letter, before taking occupation of the property.
However, on a date unknown to the state, but during the period extending 2020 to date, the eight accused persons occupied the farm without any offer letter, permit, or authority from the responsible minister.
The invaders allegedly disturbed Chiyangwa’s farming activities prompting him to lodge a police report that led to their arrest.
Another 28 illegal settlers at the farm, are yet to be sentenced in a separate but similar case of invading the controversial businessman’s land, situated on the edges of Chinhoyi town.