Fungai Lupande Court reporter
Businessman and former Zanu-PF Chitungwiza Ward 25 councillor Fredrick Mabamba yesterday appeared in court for swindling Chitungwiza home-seekers of close to $8 million.
Mabamba (54) allegedly sold 3 894 stands on land belonging to Chitungwiza Municipality meant for a cemetery, open spaces, schools, wetlands and road buffers.
Mabamba of No. 1 Ninga Road Zengeza 3, Chitungwiza, appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Tafadzwa Muvhami facing two counts of fraud.
He was released on $2 000 bail and was ordered to surrender his passport and report every Friday at CID Law and Order.
Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa told the court that Mabamba was the chairman of United We Stand Housing Co-operative.
It is alleged that in 2007 Mabamba connived with Agnes Nhidza, who is on the run, to form the co-operative.
They managed to enlist 8 000 members.
The court heard that between 2007 and this year Mabamba and his accomplices managed to identify 26 different pieces of land within the Chitungwiza Municipality area.
They chose land meant for a cemetery, open spaces, schools, wetlands and road buffers and misrepresented to their members that the land was offered to them by Chitungwiza Municipality.
They collected $2 000 from each member and allocated 3 894 stands.
It is alleged that the stands were allocated without offer letters from the municipality.
On September 14, a Chitungwiza municipal official, Conrad Muchesa, made a report to the police leading to Mabamba’s arrest.
Home seekers were swindled of $7 880 000 and nothing was recovered.
On the second count Mabamba allegedly sold four residential stands in Unit O, Chitungwiza, to a Harare businesswoman in October last year.
The court heard that the businesswoman was buying the stands for her brother who is based outside the country.
It is alleged that they entered into an agreement of sale and she paid $18 000.
On August 19 this year she entered into another agreement of sale for four more stands and paid $16 000.
When the complainant went to view the stand she realised that the land was within Manyame Rural District Council.
It is alleged that when she was about to develop the land Manyame Rural District Council informed her that the first four stands were on land meant for a sewer system.
She also realised that the other four stands were allocated to other people. When she went to the rural district council offices she was told Mabamba had no authority to allocate or sale the residential stands.
The woman lost $34 000 and nothing was recovered.