Saturday 4 May 2024


A GWERU couple with hearing, talking and mental impairments lost their home after they were tricked into giving up their title deeds as surety for a US$100 000 loan taken by a stranger around 2009.

Now the couple, Mr Paul John Frank Navratil and Mrs Beauty Marimira-Navratil, their family, and tenants have been living outside their Athlone suburb home for the past 15 days after they were evicted by the Messenger of Court.

A Maggie Dlodlo purchased the house for US$20 000 in 2016 but only evicted them on 19 April this year.

Sunday News visited the Navratil family in Gweru where the crew found them sitting in despair outside what used to be their home.

Because both Mr and Mrs Navratil cannot hear and talk much, this reporter spoke through Ms Joselyne Marimira, a sister to Mrs Navratil, who has been living with them for the past 12 years.

“This issue started in 2009 when a man called Noble Maguwu took a loan from Agribank (now AFC Bank) in Gweru and gave two of his residential stands in Mkoba 9 as surety. He was supposed to repay the loan in 60 days but he failed and was taken to court by the bank.

“He then approached Mr Navratil, my brother-in-law who has a psychiatric problem and cannot hear or talk well. Mr Maguwu asked for the title deeds and said he would return them after six months as he wanted to get a loan.

“He bought my brother-in-law a meal and promised to give him US$200 a month until the deeds returned but he never paid him and did not return the documents,” said Ms Marimira.

It was later gathered that Mr Maguwu and his wife Busisiwe fraudulently added Mr Navratil to their company documents — Nacbol Investments (Pvt) Limited (Parama Bakery) — saying they were business partners.

“The title deeds were surrendered to the bank together with a fake Power of Attorney and Mr Navratil signed some documents agreeing to release his title deeds under what is called Continuous Surety Bond. This meant the deeds were going to remain at the bank and he could borrow more money even after the payment of the US$100 000,” she said.

Ms Marimira said she made a report in Harare at the Police Headquarters and at Agribank headquarters too where she was told that the bank could not attach the house.

“I was told that the paperwork was not clear and the bank could not attach the house and I was told to make a police report that would ensure investigations commence,” she said.

“We made an application to the High Court and we were told the house could not be sold but after three days the house was sold. We were left confused.” 

What also baffled the family was that the US$100 000 that was paid to Nacbol Investments was too much money for an investment into a small bakery in Gweru in 2010.

Mr Maguwu was called by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and asked about his relationship with Mr Navratil. He reportedly said he did not know him but had just used his title deeds. However, it is said he  was never arrested.

News then filtered through  that the manager who had authorised the US$100 000 loan fled to the United Kingdom after the case was unearthed.

Mr Alfred Marimira, a brother to Mrs Marimira-Navratil tried to get information from the Sheriff of the High Court in Bulawayo in 2017 on the sale of the house and was shown the case file.

“Surprisingly when I went there last year they refused to show me the file, they said the file had been mixed with a case file for Dairiboard. I insisted that the lady who served me put it in writing to that effect. I understand that the woman has since left her job too.

“I wanted to find out what exactly was realised from the sale of the house who bought it and when the title deeds were transferred too,” said Mr Marimira.

Mr Maguwu would channel all correspondence regarding the sale of the property and court documents to his residential address in Lundi Park, such that the family was unaware of what was taking place until they lost the house.

Ms Marimira also questioned why Maggie Dlodlo only showed up at the house on the day of eviction in April this year and how she purchased a house seven years ago without ever viewing it or communicating with its owners.

“We were shocked when we saw the water bills coming under her name last year yet we had never seen her before or heard from her,” she added.

Asked about the relationship between Mr Maguwu and Mr Navratil, Ms Marimira said they were not friends.

“They never hung out together, neither were they friends, but there is a friend of Mr Navratil called Uncle Joe, a musician, who used to borrow musical instruments from him, he is the one who came with Mr Maguwu and introduced him before he took the title deeds.

“But Joe knew the state of my brother-in-law, he was in no capacity to enter into any legal agreements alone without an assistant. They took advantage of him and robbed him of his property,” she lamented.

Mr Navratil has been a victim of other locals who have been helping themselves to his property taking advantage of his condition.

A 15-hectare plot in Christmas Gift in Gweru was exchanged for a car and at one time he had 12 vehicles but does not have a single one after he was duped by people.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Muguwu were fruitless and reports are that Ms Dlodlo has applied to the High Court to have the blind couple and their family moved from the front of the house.  Sunday News


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