By Brenda Zinyuke
Former Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda will appear in court tomorrow for alleged corruption involving a US$60 000 land deal.
Banda (50), who is also Njube-Lobengula constituency MP, is accused of conniving with a local real estate company to forge signatures to sell a residential stand in Selbourne Brooke, Bulawayo belonging to Mr Nkululeko Ndlovu.
The matter was postponed after the State’s witness, a forensic scientist Mr Leonard Tendai Nhari, requested time to ‘refresh’ his memory regarding papers that were submitted to him by the State for examination.
The papers were signed by Banda and the complainant.
The MP and Bard Real Estate, represented by Mbonisi David Nyaguze (33), yesterday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya facing fraud charges.
They pleaded not guilty and were remanded to tomorrow on their own cognisance.
For the State, Mr George Rufumoyo said Banda connived with Bard Real Estate and forged Mr Ndlovu’s signature to sell his residential stand without his consent.
“On February 2, 2015, the complainant (Ndlovu) bought a residential stand in Selbourne Brooke, Bulawayo.
“He signed a memorandum of agreement with Bulawayo Gloss and Allied products. Sometime in 2017, on a date unknown to the prosecutor, Banda approached the complainant and offered to buy the stand.
“The agreement was that Banda would pay for a bigger stand on behalf of the complainant in Paddonhurst suburb,” said the prosecutor.
Banda allegedly failed to abide by the terms of the agreement and offered to buy the residential stand in question in cash.
He again allegedly failed to honour the promise.
“On July 21, 2017, the complainant sent a message to Banda advising him of his intention to cancel the agreement. After the cancellation had been communicated, Banda went on to transfer US$2 000 into the complainant’s Steward Bank account and started doing some construction work on the stand.
“On realising that Banda was defiant, the complainant, through his lawyer, wrote Banda instructing him to cease the construction but he ignored it.
“The complainant through his lawyers made an application to the High Court declaring the sale null and void since it was against City of Bulawayo regulations which barred sale of an undeveloped stand by an individual,” said the prosecutor.
Mr Rufumoyo said Banda tendered a Cessation Agreement which he drafted in his personal capacity as a sales agent for Bard Real Estate.
The said Cessation Agreement purported that the complainant had ceded all interest and rights of the stand.
“The document had the complainant’s forged signatures. Also tendered at the High Court was an acknowledgement of payment which was also drafted by accused three in his official capacity as an employee of accused two also bearing complainant’s forged signature.
“An agreement of sale between Banda and Bulawayo Glass and Allied dated September 20, 2015, which was drafted by accused three on Bard Real Estate’s logo was also tendered by Banda in his defence.
“The complainant suffered actual prejudice of US$60 000 which is the value of the stand as a result of accused person’s actions,” said the prosecutor. The Chronicle