Thousands of potential beneficiaries of estates of deceased people may have been prejudiced of their rightful inheritance through unscrupulous neutral executors.
This could have left genuine beneficiaries homeless following eviction from properties of their late relatives by unscrupulous executors who then sell the assets for a song.
A neutral executor is a registered administrator accredited and licensed by the Council for Estate Administrators (CEA).
He/she is supposed to have a degree in either Law, Accounting or Business, must have administered and finalised at least five deceased estates and be aged 25 and above.
An alleged case in point is that of file DR2389/06, which was given to one Decide Kutyauripo of Guidance Estate Administrators of 9 Peterhead Drive, Eastlea, Harare.
Investigations indicate Kutyauripo does not possess either the prerequisite qualifications or the experience to do the job, and there is no proof he executed the required minimum number of estates.
But after having been cleared by the CEA to do the job, Kutyauripo has attracted the wrath of the Master of the High Court, Mr Eldred Mutasa, who described him as “a rotten apple, someone who is making people suffer for no apparent reason, and must be chucked out of the system”.
On November 26, the family at the centre of the matter (who preferred anonymity) was invited for an edict meeting but asked for an extension to consult and come up with their own executor from within the family.
A few days later the three beneficiaries individually received text messages from Kutyauripo informing them that he had been selected as the neutral executor.
The messages also said he had unsuccessfully tried to call them on their mobile phones and could not locate their given addresses. He was, therefore, inviting them to his office to discuss their late father’s estate.
Two of the three objected and on January 14, wrote a letter addressed to the Master saying: “Please be advised that on November 6, we attended an edict meeting at your offices, but could not appoint an executor dative because some of the relatives we had invited were not able to attend (come) on the day in question.
“We are, therefore, asking your good office to give us a new date so that we can appoint (the) same. We understand you had already appointed one Kutyauripo to be our executor but we, as family members, are in a position to choose a member of our family to be our executor and we are, therefore, going to pray for the next date to appoint the executor. Your urgent co-operation thereto will be greatly appreciated.”
Guidance Estate Administrators, through Kutyauripo, wrote a letter on January 19 insisting they had been duly appointed neutral executors and attached an invoice for US$450 from Light Vale Properties with a call for the family to “urgently contribute some money to pay the bill so that we can avoid the sale of assets”.
The letter did not state how much the estate had been valued at.
Five months into an administration process the victims of the scam described as “a very long stint in hell”, the family has been bombarded with letters giving ultimatums and threats that the property would be sold despite them contributing US$1 080, which was deposited directly into the Sheriff of the High Court’s CBZ Selous Branch (account number 021 23886430037).
The Master’s Office confirmed receipt (serial number 0025440 JSC). The family also paid Guidance Estate Administrators US$150.
The company – whose other directors are listed as S Mukutiri, SE Mukutiri and SM Gowora – notified the family on January 27 that the value of the estate was US$22 000, submitted a different variation of US$23 000 to the Master, and then claimed their executor fees from an estate at US$27 000.
This, the Master of the High Court said, bore “all the ingredients of fraud”.
Despite having confirmed that the Master of the High Court had been paid his fees in full and that part of the evaluation fees had been deposited into their account, Kutyauripo on March 31 wrote: “We are advising you that we are now selling (the property) and are hereby giving you three months’ notice from today to June 30, 2016 to vacate the said property.
“Meanwhile, you are directed to allow our estate agents to view the property with their clients so that they will do their work without disturbances.”
Procedurally, authority to sell such a property is granted by the Master of the High Court who, in an interview last week, said he had never issued the permit as per Section 120 of the Deceased Estates and Inheritance Act.
Asked for his side of the story, Kutyauripo said he was not in a position to verify the exact value of the estate as he was not in office.mOn if it differed from the one he submitted to the Master of the High Court, he said “come to the office”.
Questioned on his credentials to practise, he retorted: “Why should that concern you? Do you have any need to be concerned about my qualifications?”
CEA administrator Simbisai Sithole said Kutyauripo was their member after he wrote two examinations covering Trust Law and Basic Accounting, before undergoing an oral test.
She said her office was not aware of the minimum degree qualification required by the Judicial Services Commission. sunday mail