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Delta ‘snared’ in Buyanga disputes

Delta Beverages (Delta) has been caught up in businessman Frank Buyanga’s property wrangles after retail trader Lawrence Muteswa registered two bonds — as surety for his obligations with the drinks maker — on a Borrowdale property previously sold to Hamilton Property Holdings (Hamilton).

Property mogul Frank Buyanga
Property mogul Frank Buyanga

The development has not only thrown Zimbabwean deeds registrar into the crosshairs of the South Africa-based investor’s lawyers, but came after the latter had sought a replacement deed for the 4 300 square metre stand and which had been bought in 2009.

“It is our considered view that… Muteswa fraudulently misrepresented… that the property was free from any encumbrances. We have instructions from our client Hamilton… to the effect that they are holding the original title deed consequent to a sell of the property,” Admire Rubaya said in an April 12 letter to Delta, adding his clients were still holding the original deed given as 10703 of 2002.

“Therefore, the registration of the mortgage bond… was actuated by fraud and… we urge you to cause an investigation into… which our client is ready to assist. There is a pending civil matter at the High Court… which is lodged under case number HC 5665/10. Our client has since engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police CID Section,” he said.

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While the latest wrangle came to light after Hamilton discovered that two mortgage bonds of $350 000 and $150 000 had been registered in respect of its 13 Coventry Road property, Buyanga has been fighting to evict Muteswa since 2011 after allegedly paying $50 000 for stand number 709 of Greystone Township 8 two years earlier.

In the meantime, Muteswa is among tens of dozens of people and companies who owe the beverages manufacturer millions, and duly handed over to its lawyers Mandia and Mudhara for collection.

According to the list of defaulters, it appears that the embattled businessman had four outstanding accounts — made up of outlets spread across Harare’s high-density suburbs — and which probably explains the 2152/13 and 3958/13 collateral to cover the debts.

However, Rubaya has urged Delta to reject the guarantees offer and undo the whole transaction, in lieu of his notice and letter.

With Muteswa accusing Hamilton of fraudulently taking over his property, an affidavit by a Hamilton representative in one of the cases reiterates that the former “had fully received payment of the purchase price, signed all relevant documents and acknowledged funds paid into his Barclays account”.

“…as defendant (property firm) had bought several properties in Harare, sellers turned against it and reported… Buyanga… to the police for fraud… For that reason, the defendant did not go ahead to lodge the signed documents, waiting for the air to clear,” he said, adding the flamboyant businessman was “subsequently cleared of any wrong doing and was now pushing for a declaratory order, and holding over claim since the original sale was being challenged”.

“He will deny that the property was ever put up as security. If that was the case, a mortgage bond would have been registered as there is no bar in such a transaction with a person who is not a money lender,” it said.

As a result of the alleged breach to vacate the premises, Hamilton has not only been seeking a validation of the agreement signed between the parties, but compensation to the tune of $2 800 per month from December 2009. Daily News