Tuesday, 7 December 2021

MAN WHO FAKED FARM OWNER'S DEATH DRAGGED TO COURT

A ROW over the ownership of Roslee Farm in Umguza District in Matabeleland North has spilled into the High Court with a Bulawayo company seeking to boot out one of its shareholders, Mr Zephaniah Matiwaza for failing to honour his obligation.

Mr Matiwaza entered into an agreement of sale of the farm with Mr Colin Ian Venables.

According to the agreement, the price of the farm was US$25 000 and Mr Matiwaza paid a deposit of US$10 000 through Mr Venables’ lawyers Coghlan and Welsh Legal Practitioners.

Mr Matiwaza then failed to pay the remainder on an agreed date resulting in the cancellation of the agreement.

Through his lawyers, he is alleged to have then fraudulently transferred the farm into his name under deed of transfer 71/2019. This was after Mr Matiwaza had faked Mr Venables’ death.

The agreement stated that in the event that the certificate was not acquired by August 30, 2009, the agreement of sale would fall away and be declared null and void.

Following the termination of the agreement of sale between the two parties, Mr Matiwaza engaged C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd and proposed a partnership to jointly acquire the property.

The consideration of the property was US$45 000 and the US$10 000, which Mr Matiwaza had paid to Mr Venables in the abortive sale was to constitute a deposit towards the purchase price.

In terms of the new arrangement, C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd would pay Mr Venables the balance of the purchase price of US$35 000 with Mr Matiwaza reimbursing the company pro-rata share of the purchase price.

Mr Matiwaza would then pay his shortfall of US$20 000 to qualify for his shares. In terms of the agreement, C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd was to have 40 percent stake in the partnership with Mr Matiwaza retaining 60 percent.

However, the partnership between the two parties did not consummate following Mr Matiwaza’s failure to pay for his shares in full.

On December 2015, Mr Venables then sold the property to C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd for US$45 000 after meeting the terms and conditions of the agreement. C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd obtained a certificate of no present interest as laid out in terms of the Land Acquisition Act as read with Statutory Instrument 287/99.

C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd, through its lawyers Tanaka Law Chambers, has now filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order for the cancellation of Mr Matiwaza’s fraudulently acquired deed of transfer.

In papers before the court, the Registrar of Deeds, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, Mr Matiwaza and Mr Venables as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd managing director Mr Dumisani Sibanda wants the title deed number 17/19 registered under Mr Matiwaza’s name to be cancelled. He also wants an order directing the Registrar of Deeds and Dr Masuka to take necessary steps to pass transfer of the Roslee Farm into Mr Venables’ name.

“The applicant (C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd) bought the property from the fourth respondent (Mr Venables) and met the terms and conditions of sale after third respondent (Mr Matiwaza)’s failure to meet the conditions of sale.

“C Gauche (Pvt) Ltd is the rightful owner of the property having obtained a certificate of no present interest and payment of the full purchase price,” said Mr Sibanda.

In terms of the Land Acquisition Act, a certificate of no present interest in relation to any rural land is a written statement by the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister indicating that the President has no intention to acquire the land in question for the time being.

Mr Sibanda argued that Mr Matiwaza did not have requisite documents to effect a lawful transfer of the property.

“The third respondent resorted to misrepresentation and fraud to compensate for his critical shortcomings hence the mischievous strategy to abuse the court processes,” said Mr Sibanda.

He said the property was fraudulently transferred to Mr Matiwaza in 2019 under transfer deed 71/2019 by virtue of a court order obtained fraudulently through a default judgment HC647/16.

Mr Matiwaza is currently facing perjury charges as defined in terms of section 183 of the Criminal Law (Reform and Codification) Act.

He was remanded out of custody to December 13 for commencement of trial. Chronicle

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