A Zimbabwean in the diaspora lost his house in the affluent Matsheumhlope suburb worth more than $300,000 after his brother whom he had entrusted with the title deeds used them as collateral to get a loan from the now defunct Geozing Pawn- broking Investments.
Thousands of people lost valuable property which they used as collateral to get loans or sold to get money to invest in Geozing which promised interest of about 30 percent per month on any money invested with it.
Tendai Chitonho only got to know that his house had been sold when he found his name on the Geozing Pawnbrokers’ creditors’ list in 2012 and discovered that his elder brother John Chitonho and wife Hlengiwe Maphosa had given the title deeds as collateral security for a loan of $4,050.
Chitonho and Maphosa had told the complainant that the title deeds for house Number 6, Colen Road had been lost when he returned home in September, 2012.
Tendai Chitonho had trusted his brother and gave him the power of attorney for safekeeping of the house and title deeds when he left for the United Kingdom in 2000. Twelve years later, Chitonho and his wife betrayed the trust because of greed and obtained a loan of $4, 050 from Geozing, which they failed to pay back resulting in the house being sold.
A frail looking Chitonho, who could hardly stand in the dock, and his wife Maphosa now face a charge of fraud involving $320 000 being the value of the house, and another one of theft of the title deeds.
Magistrate Gladmore Mushove on Thursday last week granted the couple $200 bail. Chitonho and Maphosa have not been asked to plead. Prosecuting, Raymond Makhaza told how in 2000 the couple was entrusted with the title deeds by the complainant for safekeeping.
It is said on September 26, 2012, the couple went to Geozing Pawnbrokers and obtained a loan, using title deeds for the house without the knowledge of the owner. To cover up for their actions after the house had been auctioned, Chitonho and Maphosa allegedly lied that the title deeds had been lost.
Following a tip off from other relatives, the complainant browsed through Geozing creditors and established that his house had been sold.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the couple. Chitonho and Maphosa will be back in court next week.