Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Man loses $800k land to fraudsters

Man loses $800k land to fraudsters

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—

A Harare businessman lost land worth about a million dollars to two suspected land barons who allegedly forged an offer letter purporting it had originated from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.The fraudulent offer letter permitted them to develop and sell the land.

Elijah Sibanda (53), the chairman of Moven Mahachi housing cooperative reportedly connived with Mbingwani Kuseli, who has since been arrested and forged the offer letter.

They allegedly developed subdivision E of Apsley of subdivision A, Stoneridge owned by Honeybags (Pvt) Ltd before selling the stands to home seekers.

Sibanda on Monday appeared before Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro charged with fraud.

He was remanded to November 29 on $300 bail coupled with some conditions.

Prosecuting, Mr Peter Kachirika alleged that sometime in 2012, Sibanda connived with Kuseli and planned on how they could defraud Honeybags.

They allegedly manufactured a document purporting to be an offer letter from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The forged document purported that the ministry had permitted Moven Mahachi Housing Cooperative to develop the land into residential stands.

While in possession of the fake offer letter, Sibanda and his alleged accomplice are said to have subdivided the said property into residential stands and sold them to home seekers who then settled on the land.

According to the State, the offence came to light when the complainant Patel Mohamed Sabir, the director of Honeybags discovered that there were some people occupying his land.

Mohamed then approached Sibanda and Kuseli for clarification, and the pair produced the fake offer letter, the court heard.

Mohamed then proceeded to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for verification and the ministry distanced itself from the said offer letter, and denied allocating the land to the housing cooperative.

As a result, the complainant lost $800 000 and nothing was recovered.

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