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Land baron in custody for defrauding homeseekers

By Prosper Dembedza

Chairperson of Goromonzi Housing Cooperative Consortium and Solomon Mujuru Housing Cooperative, Oswell Ndumo Gwanzura, on Tuesday appeared in court on allegations of defrauding Ruwa homeseekers of US$11 340 and $34 510 by selling land that belonged to someone else.

File picture of Harare Magistrates Court
File picture of Harare Magistrates Court

Gwanzura (77) was facing fraud charges when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Victoria Mashamba.

He was remanded in custody to Friday next week.

Allegations are that during September 2013, Gwanzura, in a bid to fleece home seekers and working in cahoots with other cooperative members who are still at large, formed Goromonzi Housing Cooperative Consortium encompassing five cooperatives, including his own, Solomon Mujuru Co-operative.

The four other chairpersons — Joicy Chirodza, Charles Humboto, Nelson Mandizvidza and Edward Muzeza — were named in court as accomplices.

The court heard that during the same year, Gwanzura and his accomplices allegedly invited home seekers to join their cooperative upon paying a US$200 joining fee and US$25 monthly subscriptions in cash or bank transfers into Solomon Mujuru Cooperative’s ZB Bank account.

Gwanzura and his accomplices registered their housing cooperative with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives and they applied for land in Solomio in Ruwa to the to the local board which was approved for the purpose of residential stands.

It is alleged that the complainants paid both the deposit and purchase price.

The court heard that in 2015, an order was granted by the High Court to the effect that ZB Bank and Landela Safari (Private) Limited were the legal owners of Lot 199883 subdivision of Galloway Hofmoor Estate measuring 598,096 hectares, with the bank holding 60 percent and the company 40 percent.

Gwanzura and his accomplices were evicted.

It is alleged that regardless of the eviction orders, Gwanzura and his accomplices went on to illegally occupy the open land, subdivided it into residential stands and allocated them to themselves and other cooperative members and further subdivided the already allocated stands to new beneficiaries to the prejudice of the complainants.

The court heard that when Gwanzura and his accomplices were doing this, they allegedly lied to their members that the Ministry of Local Government had already transferred the property into their name.

As a result of this representation, the complainants suffered a total prejudice of US$11 340 and $34 510.

Nothing was recovered. The Herald

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