Deregistered housing cooperative defies court ruling

Source: Deregistered housing cooperative defies court ruling | Herald (Crime)

Herald Reporter 

Zanoremba Housing Cooperative Society Limited led by chairperson of Mr Kalisto Masango and seven of his associates fraudulently sold more than 357 houses and 2 000 residential stands at a housing project in Chitungwiza over the past 10 years despite having been deregistered.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the project in Unit L is owned by Chigumba Property Holdings and Zanoremba Housing Company (Pvt) Ltd.

Mr Masango and his seven associates are reportedly defying a court ruling ordering their eviction from houses they are occupying at the housing project.

It is understood that the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development cancelled the registration of Zanoremba Housing Cooperative Society in 2011, following a complaint lodged by the now late former Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Chitungwiza South and businessman Cde Christopher Chigumba.

“We have received a letter from Mr Christopher C. Chigumba alleging that you are members of his project, the Zanoremba Housing Project. 

“We are further advised that you are also hijacking his project and that you have started to collect funds from his members using the provisional registration fraudulently.

“You are therefore asked to stop forthwith, carrying any activities under the name, Zanoremba Housing Co-operative Society Ltd. 

“You are advised that the provisional registration is currently cancelled,” reads part of the letter from the ministry dated July 19, 2011, addressed to the management committee. 

Despite the housing cooperative’s operations being cancelled, the eight continued selling stands belonging to the legitimate owners of the housing project to various people at more than US$5 000 each.

Some of the stands were reportedly exchanged for vehicles among other valuables which they converted into their own use.

Chigumba Property Holdings built over 2 300 houses in the area.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that Chigumba Property Holdings and its sister company, Zanoremba Housing Company (Pvt) Ltd, were the bona fide owners and legal rights holders of the housing project.

The rival outfit Zanoremba Housing Cooperative Society Limited led by Mr Masango, a former councillor in the town, were then interdicted from interfering with the administration of the project in any way as none of them had any rights to the project.

The others who were barred from interference were Hastancia Musetwa, Taurai Zikwende, Erifa Chivaya, Clemence Chitsanga, Tendai Nyangande and Elwin Tsongoro.

Following the Supreme Court order, Chigumba Property Holdings then approached the Harare Magistrates Court seeking an order for the eviction of its rivals from the housing project and it was granted.

Masango and his associates then appealed at the High Court, but the matter was dismissed with costs on June 17, 2021 by Justice Owen Tagu sitting with Justice Esther Muremba. 

Following the eviction order, the eight defendants have continued staying at the housing project in defiance of the court order.

A report was recently made to police, leading to the arrest of Masango and Tsongoro. 

Their case is still pending before the courts after having been released from remand prison last Thursday.

It is also reported that they are continuing to take money from desperate home seekers in and around Chitungwiza when they were interdicted from selling and advertising stands belonging to Zanoremba Housing Company.

The Supreme Court said home seekers should start dealing with Chigumba Property Holdings and its sister company, Zanoremba Housing Company Private Limited who are the bona fide owners of the property.

Chitungwiza Municipality was also barred from transacting with the eight defendants in the administration of the housing scheme by opening files and entering into contracts on the project.