By Sheillah Mapani
A Harare businessman allegedly sold his tenant’s property worth over $2 million using a fake court order as compensation for $4 000 rental arrears. This was after he had refused to accept payment in plastic money.
Maxwell Sibanda (59) of Borrowdale Brook last Friday appeared before Mbare magistrate Ms Rutendo Rakafa for trial.
He was facing theft and disturbing or preventing tenant from occupying the leased premises without a court order charges. Testifying as the court’s second witness, Artwell Kapita narrated how Sibanda took the law into his own hands and ended up stealing and selling their machinery.
“Sibanda only wanted his rental payments in cash so due to the cash crisis in our country we would struggle to meet his due dates, resulting in him closing us out of the factory. He went on to obtain a fake court order, which he used to auction our machinery and other factory properties worth $2 225 273, which does not tally with the $4 000 we owed him.
“Sibanda even looted some of our machinery before the auction because most of the big machines were not there at the auction and also the list given to the messenger of court did not include some of the big machines which were in the factory,” he told the court.
Sibanda allegedly took over the premise in question located at Gazaland Shopping Centre from Jairos jiri disabled beneficiaries converting it into his own business.
Prosecutor Mr Funnel Madanire alleged that Sibanda had a lease agreement with Pacefootwear Pvt Ltd represented by Alex Magonde who left his son Ronald Magonde in charge of the premises. It is alleged that the agreement with Pacefootwear was from February1 2012 to January 31 this year.
The court heard that Magonde failed to pay monthly rentals from October 2015 to July last year. It is the State’s case that on October 11 last year, Sibanda locked the premises being used by Pacefootwear without court order and thereby disturbing the company production.
It is further alleged that on June 7 this year, he went on to auction the company’s machinery without its knowledge. The total value of goods stolen and auctioned was $2 225 273 and nothing was recovered. The matter was remanded to January 10 for trial continuation. The Herald