Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
HARARE land developer Felix Munyaradzi, who is facing charges of duping buyers of stands at Sandton near Westgate in Harare, yesterday applied for the recusal of magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa arguing that she was biased.
Through his lawyer, Mr Nikiel Mushangwe, Munyaradzi said he was convinced that Mrs Gofa will not give him a fair trial on his four counts of fraud.
Mr Mushangwe told the court that on November 23, he wrote to the court through the clerk of court indicating that his client wanted Mrs Gofa to recuse herself on his trial.
“You previously heard and determined two matters concerning the accused. The first application that was made by the accused was an application challenging his placement on remand,” he said.
“The application was dismissed by this court and aggrieved by that ruling, the accused filed for review at the High Court on October 2.
“In that application, you were cited as the respondent and that application was served on you and up to today (yesterday) we have not received a notice of opposition.”
He said the High Court judge who reviewed Mrs Gofa’s ruling said she did not apply her mind on the issues that were in the application, adding that the ruling was biased and wrong.
“The judge went on saying that any reasonable person would have not placed the accused in remand,” he said.
Mrs Gofa deferred the matter to today for continuation of the application. Circumstances leading to Munyaradzi’s arrest are that during 2015, his firm Delatfin Investment (Pvt) Ltd, entered into a swap deal with Mr Delish Nguwaya for the sale of stands in exchange for a Toyota Prado.
Delatfin Investments sold three residential stands – 1572, 1516 and 1471 – in Sandton Park in Mt Hampden, worth US$50 000 and Mr Nguwaya surrendered the Prado and an agreement of sale was signed on February 2, 2018.
But it is alleged that Munyaradzi went on to sell the stands to other people, and when Mr Nguwaya complained, Munyaradzi agreed to compensate him with eight smaller stands in Sandton Park.
But then Munyaradzi allegedly went on to sell one of the stands to Tawanda Mashumba for US$30 000.
It is the State’s case that Mr Nguwaya was aware that the stand in question had already been sold, and he lost US$15 000 in the process.
On April 20, 2015, Delatfin Investments was offered 120 hectares of State land by the Ministry of Local Government to develop residential stands, the land having previously been used by the police for breeding horses.
In 2016, Munyaradzi through his firm, allegedly sold a stand fraudulently to Mrs Gabaza for US$18 000, a stand in Sandton Phase 3 to Mr Dondo for US$22 000, and another stand in the same neighbourhood to Mr Makodza for US$40 000.
Mr Makodza is said to have later discovered his stand had allegedly been sold for a second time to Mrs Nyongo by Munyaradzi, forcing him to lodge a complaint with the police.