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Energy Mutodi brews fresh storm

By Abel Zhakata

MUTARE – Troubled Harare businessman Energy Mutodi has bulldozed his way into the Gimboki South Housing Scheme and began servicing stands without council approval in a move viewed as trying to create defence to several fraud cases he is facing at the Mutare Criminal Courts. 

The flamboyant Energy Mutodi
The flamboyant Energy Mutodi

Mutodi is the owner of the controversial National Housing Development Trust that stands accused of defrauding close to 2 000 home-seekers in Mutare of more than $2 million. He faces similar charges in Rusape and Harare.

Although a private developer — Dreamos — was contracted by the Mutare Housing Consortium to service the Gimboki housing project following years of inactivity chiefly caused by the NHDT stands scandal, Mutodi last week brought earth moving equipment on the site and unilaterally started servicing stands.

Housing director Mr Stenard Mapurisa said NHDT has no mandate to service the stands.

“I don’t know what is exactly happening on the ground but what I can tell you is that NHDT has no mandate to service the stands. Phone Mike Duru and he will tell you the position of the consortium as they are the people in charge of the project,” he said.

When contacted for comment Mr Duru, who is the chairman of the Mutare Housing Consortium, said Mutodi’s actions were illegal.

“What Mutodi and Chaya (Gift) are doing is wrong and illegal. The consortium is the sole developer of the Gimboki stands and anything that happens there must be approved by it first.

“We are discussing their cases and the next thing we hear is that they have bulldozed their way onto the site yet they know well that we contracted Dreamoss to service the stands and we have a binding contract with them. We are going to take up this matter with the Town Clerk, Mr Obert Muzawazi who is the arbitrator of the project,” he said.

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Efforts to get a comment from Mutodi were fruitless at the time of going to print but his Mutare manager, Mr Jefta Makumbinde, who is spearheading the project said NHDT was going ahead.

“What you must know is that as NHDT we have no agreement with Dreamoss and what we are doing is simply servicing our stands for our clients. No one is going to stop us and we are progressing at a faster pace. Mind you we collected money from our clients and we want to service and give them their stands,” he said.

The ensuing confusion has prompted Dreamoss to lodge an urgent chamber application at the High Court in Harare to stop NHDT and Chaya from interfering with their operations on the site.

In the application filed at the High Court on Tuesday through their lawyers, Hogwe, Dzimirai and Partners, Dreamoss is demanding the immediate ejection of the respondents from the project.

“The first (NHDT) and second (Mutodi) respondents have resorted to self-help and have illicitly and unlawfully deprived the applicant of its peaceful and undisturbed possession, occupation and control of the construction site at Gimboki South Housing Project. It is crystal clear that the conduct of the first and second respondents is unlawful and constitutes spoliation. Spoliation is by its very nature urgent and calls for a speedy remedy. This matter is therefore deserving of an urgent hearing.”

In their founding affidavit, Dreamoss, represented by its managing director Mr Emmanuel Musevenzo, said the company has a binding contract with the consortium to service the stands.

He said since September 10, 2012 Dreamoss assumed peaceful and undisturbed possession, control and or occupation of the project and it carried out its operations without any interruptions from anyone whosoever.

“Mutodi recently hit the headlines when he approached this Honourable Court for bail, having been incarcerated on allegations of fraud arising from funds he allegedly collected from some members of the consortium before the applicant took over the project.

“It is alleged that he swindled members’ payments in respect of the same housing scheme. He was recently released on bail. Subsequent to that, NHDT spearheaded by and with Mutodi have bulldozed their way onto the construction site.

“They started off by bring a grader and other equipment on November 13, 2013. Despite calls by the applicant to stop interfering with the project, they have illicitly and illegally resorted to self-help by taking over possession, control and occupation of the construction site.

“It is apparent that Mutodi is trying to create a defence to the fraud allegations against him by purporting to work on the project. This they are doing without the project designs, which are in the applicant’s custody.

“Dreamoss prays for the restoration of its possession of the project and the ejection of the respondents from the site. Respondents have no agreement with the consortium or any other authority for that matter.

I am advised that even if they did have any kind of agreement, they cannot just surface at the site that has been under the peaceful possession of the applicant,” reads the affidavit. Manica Post