Land barons appear in court

via Land barons appear in court – DailyNews Live 18 August 2015

HARARE – Seven land barons were yesterday charged with fraud after selling a piece of land meant for primary school construction.

Clifford Chimusoro and Stanely Mugari, the chairperson and secretary of Ebenezer Housing Co-operative respectively, were granted $500 bail each when they appeared before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo.

They were restricted from visiting the land in question and ordered to report thrice a week at CID Law and Order as part of their bail conditions.

Their alleged accomplices Dominico Mark, Innocent Chakandinakira, Driver Kasambarare, Pardon Manyima and Daniel Nyamano were released on $100 bail each.

Magistrate Mapfumo remanded all the accused persons to September 17 after ordering the group to surrender their passports and to continue to reside at their given addresses.

The other accused persons Takewell Mutata, Richard Bizeck, Collen Dawatawa, Fidelis Puraz and Christopher Nhau are still large.

The group allegedly formed the cooperative in August 2012 and began with 21 members, growing the figure to 149 by November 2014.

Each member was paying $50 per month for the first three months and were later supposed to pay $25 as monthly subscriptions.

After registering with the SMEs ministry, on September 25, 2012 an application was made to the director of city valuation and estate manager requesting for an idle piece of land located at No 2809, Budiriro measuring 5,3 hectares.

It is alleged that on March 17 last year, the accused persons fraudulently obtained a council resolution from Urban Planning Services department which purported that they were in support of change of land use from that of a primary school to residential.

The court heard that Harare City officials warned the cooperative to stop building on the site because it was meant for a primary school.

The accused persons allegedly advised cooperative members to ignore the council and continue constructing.

On August 4, Harare City made a police report against the accused persons and other land barons who are yet to be arrested.

On August 13, Chimusoro and Mugari were arrested.

The complainants suffered a prejudice of $134 000 which was paid in subscriptions and the total prejudice suffered through construction of properties is yet to be established.