Wednesday, 12 August 2020

HRE LAND BARON SWAMPED WITH LAWSUITS


HARARE land baron Felix Munyaradzi, who is accused of illegally selling State land and stands without servicing them is saddled with over 66 High Court civil suits for damages totalling millions of US dollars, while more people are coming forward to file fresh criminal charges.

Munyaradzi is in custody after being denied bail by a Harare magistrate, but has approached the High Court seeking bail as investigators try to piece together evidence on his alleged illegal land transactions.

The High Court is expected to hear his bail application this week.

A list of civil suits involving Munyaradzi’s land developing company, Delatfin Investments, shows that between 2008 and this year, about 66 individuals and companies have sued Munyaradzi at the High Court in civil claims with regard to the land transactions between his company and the unsuspecting clients. 

On his part, Munyaradzi has in the same period sued 28 people and companies. Some of the companies suing Munyaradzi’s company include Drum City and Elimobile, which filed eight cases.

Chitungwiza municipality has at least four cases against the land development company and Zvimba Rural District Council has two cases against the company.

Lawyers Mr Andrew Makoni, Mr Charles Chinyama and a top police officer Erasmus Makodza, businessman Delish Nguwaya, and Stella Makaya, among others, are embroiled in fierce legal battles with Delatfin at the High Court .

However, his arrest last month has opened a flood gate of more criminal charges as many individuals are now filing their reports against him after their previous efforts were allegedly frustrated at various police stations, according to reports. 

Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) in the President’s Office confirmed that his office is receiving more complaints from people who claim to have lost their money to Munyaradzi’s land development company.

“More members of the public are coming forward to file complaints against Munyaradzi on similar allegations of activities of a criminal nature involving land transactions,” said Mr Thabani Mpofu, head of SACU.

“The investigations into his land deals are taking into consideration the findings of the land commission which implicated him.”

Mr Mpofu said this is likely to see more criminal charges arising against Munyaradzi.

In addition, Mr Mpofu said Sacu had also received reports of alleged interference with persons in position of authority and investigations in that regard were underway.

Munyaradzi was denied bail at the magistrates’ court after the State expressed fears that he would interfere with investigations since most of the witnesses are his employees.

Circumstances leading to Munyaradzi’s arrest on the initial charges are that in 2015, Delatfin Investment (Pvt) Ltd entered into a swap deal with Nguwaya for the sale of stands in exchange of a Toyota Prado. Delatfin Investment sold three residential stands — Numbers 1572, 1516 and 1471 — in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden worth US$50 000. Nguwaya is said to have surrendered the Prado (registration ADQ 3688) and an agreement of sale was signed on February 2, 2018.

It is alleged that Munyaradzi went on to sell the stands to other people, which prompted Mr Nguwaya to engage him.

The court heard that Munyaradzi then agreed to compensate Mr Nguwaya with eight smaller stands in Sandton Park, Harare. But Munyaradzi allegedly went on to sell one of the stands to Tawanda Mashumba for US$30 000.

It is the State’s case that Nguwaya was aware that the stand in question had already been sold. Mr Nguwaya lost US$15 000 in the process. On April 20, 2015 Delatfin Investment was offered 120 hectares of land by the Ministry of Local Government for residential stands development.

The piece of land was State land and is currently being used by Zimbabwe Republic Police for breeding horses.

Sometime in 2016, Munyaradzi through his Delatfin Investment, allegedly fraudulently sold the stand to Mrs Gabaza for US$18 000.

Munyaradzi is also alleged to have sold another stand in Sandton Phase 3 to Mr Dondo for US$22 000 and also sold another stand in the same neighbourhood to Mr Makodza for US$40 000.

Mr Makodza is said to have later discovered that the same stand had been sold to someone named as Mrs Nyongo by Munyaradzi, forcing him to lodge a complaint with the police. Herald

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