Former magistrates trial kicks off

The trial of former Harare magistrate Memory Chigwaza and her three accomplices, who are facing $155 000 fraud charges after selling non-existent residential stands to unsuspecting home-seekers has kicked off before Regional Magistrate Hosea Mujaya.

Chigwaza (48), Everson Luni (38), Davison Zvomarima (65) and Michael Kawanzuruwa pleaded not guilty to the charges before court.

The four are accused of hatching a plan to swindle home seekers of their money by flighting an advertisement in a local newspaper offering residential stands under Maizview Projects at Strathaven in Harare.

The gang was denied having pegged the stands at $25 per square metre.

Zvomarima also denied having obtained a fake identity card under the name of Gabriel Kabanda who was reportedly made one of the directors of the purported Topmark Stationers company using a fake CR14 document.

The real Topmark directors are Abel Zhuwao and Rumbidzai Mapfumo.

Luni and Kawanzuruwa allegedly hired their agents, Topmark Stationers, and showed them the stands for sale in Strathaven armed with fake title deeds.

The State alleges that on September 27 last year, Sonboy Mapanzure responded to the advertisement and proceeded to Maizview offices in Eastlea, Harare, and transferred $25 000 into a CBZ Bank account.

Thereafter, he was referred to Chigwaza’s offices at Chikore and Chigwaza Law Chambers where an agreement of sale was prepared by Chigwaza, who failed to check the authenticity of the title deeds.

It is alleged Zvomarima presented himself as Kabanda, who was representing Topmark.

The State alleges that on September 26 last year, another complainant, Benjamin Manungo, responded to the same advertisement and paid $40 000.

On October 3, Manungo paid another $5 000 and an agreement of sale was again prepared by Chigwaza.

As a result, he lost $45 000 and nothing was recovered.

It is further alleged that on October 4, third complainant Peter Manyoni responded to the advert and paid $55 000 through a transfer into Maizview Projects’ bank  account.

Chigwaza allegedly prepared the agreement of sale.

On October 5, fourth complainant, Jacob Kasumba, paid $25 000 and nothing was recovered.

The State alleges the accused persons received the money and entered into agreements of sale with the complainants using fake title deeds.