Zacc probes more cases against court Sheriff

Source: Zacc probes more cases against court Sheriff | The Herald

McDuff Madega

Crime Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) said they were still investigating all the cases that were reported against the High Court Sherriff, McDuff Madega who was recently arrested for suspected criminal abuse of office and the illegal sale of properties attached by the courts.

The Herald has it on good authority that several people have claimed to have lost houses on account of Madega’s actions and have made reports to Zacc.

Madega, who allegedly auctioned a property twice without disclosing to parties involved sometime in 2012, appeared in court on Thursday, charged with fraud.

Madega, who was represented by lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje.

He was remanded to July 28 on $20 000 bail.

In the other latest cases, Madega is being investigated on suspected criminal abuse of office and the illegal sale of more than 10 properties attached by the courts.

According to reports, he is accused of working with a cartel of officials in his office, lawyers, auctioneers and officials at the Deeds Office to target people whose properties would have been attached by the courts.

At least 10 cases that involve improper sale of the seized properties have been reported to Zacc.

Some of the complainants are Mr John Amon Chinyanganya who is accusing Madega of selling his Harare house with a fake deed at an auction (under case number HCR 58/07/21), Green Energy Company for illegally authorising the sale of goods and motor vehicle by a public auction (HCR 25/08/2021, Abigail Mutize for unlawfully and corruptly selling their Mabelreign house and changing title deed before full payment (HCR 89/06/2020), Piwayi Chiutsi for fraudulently attaching his property and declaring a local company Bariadie Investments as highest bidder but had never participated during the auction (HCR 31/07/ 2021) and Francis Masawi who is accusing Madega for abusing his power to sell his property (HCR 18/05/2020).

Others are Bryn Michael Baxter who is accusing him of conniving with a relative to fraudulently register an estate (HCR 116/09/21), Rufaro Shiri is accusing him of colluding with a company that is not registered (HCR 126/09/21), Tendai Matanga alleged that he won three civil suits which he handed over to Madega who failed to act (HCR 36/10/18), Gunike Makwira who is claiming that his properties were sold without following the procedures (HCR 18/05/21) and Hilton Tserayi who is accusing him of fraudulently auctioning his vehicle worth US$15 000 for US$100.

When contacted for comment, Zacc spokesperson Commissioner Mr John Makamure said confirmed that they were conducting investigations on all cases brought to them against Madega.

“We are investigating all the cases that were reported to Zacc pertaining to the Sheriff, in addition to the charges that he was recently arrested for,” he said.

These developments also come after Bariadie Investments, is still trying to gain ownership of the Highlands property despite having lost in the High Court.

High Court Judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi found that Mr Mashamhanda was the legal owner of the 4 377 square metre property worth over US$230 000 after buying it in 2019 through an auction.

It had been attached from Harare lawyer Mr Puwayi Chiutsi following a wrangle with his former client Mr Elliot Rodgers over US$70 000 trust money.

Justice Chitapi accepted that Mr Mashamhanda bought it through an estate agent and took all the necessary precautions to ensure the title was unencumbered and secure.

Bariadie has made applications through the High Court on several occasions, saying it bought the same property in a 2017 auction through Madega and asserts that the Sheriff of Zimbabwe once instructed lawyer Mr Tendai Biti to process the transfer of the property into Bariadie Investments’ name.

On the other case reported under reference number RR 30/07/19, Madega is accused of selling a Bluffhill house in Harare under CBZ mortgage without transferring the proceeds of the sale to the bank and other beneficiaries.

In another case reported to Zacc, a complainant said Mr Madega facilitated the sale of his house within a day of processing the deeds, while summons had been sent to a wrong address.

A property was sold below the evaluation reports from private estate agents. In terms of the law after the sale of the property, the Sheriff is supposed to ask the owner of the property to file an objection to the sale within 15 days before the Sheriff can confirm the sale.

“Instead the Sheriff sent the letter to the property owner’s farm in Shurugwi and yet all other letters were being sent to his lawyers. The owner of this property received this letter a day before the expiry of the window period to file his objection. He was unable to file on time resulting in the house being confirmed sold. The Sheriff then ordered the registrar of deeds to process the title deeds for the new buyer. The deeds were processed within a day.”