Zimbabwe has suspended all weddings indefinitely - reportedly in an effort to curb corruption and fraud.

The ban on matrimony was revealed by the state-run Herald newspaper, SW Radio Africa reported.

Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general, said the move was to try to stop "marriages of convenience" where couples got married to entitle one partner - usually a man from Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of Congo, critics claimed - to Zimbabwean citizenship.

Mudede announced weddings could be held once a new "biometric marriage" was introduced but it is unclear what that means.

"We are the first in the world to fight marriages of convenience," Mudede said.

People who attempted to flaunt the ban may face prison, the registrar-general warned. "Marriage officers will have to comply with this and if you don't, jail is waiting for you," he said.

Dozens of weddings across Zimbabwe have been cancelled as registrar offices turn people away, it was reported.

Would-be bride Tatenda Chigovera cancelled her wedding at the last minute in Harare. "We took this wedding seriously and have spent months preparing," the Scotsman reported her saying.

The authorities said that men from other countries were paying Zimbabwean women to enter into marriages of convenience so that they can obtain Zimbabwean residency permits.

In one case, a woman who worked as a street vendor accepted just £6 to marry a Nigerian man, the Scotsman said.