11 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Fake Court Order Backfires

A Harare businessman was last week fined $400 for selling his tenant's property worth over $2 million using a fake court order as compensation for $4 000 rental arrears. Maxwell Sibanda (59) of Borrowdale Brook pleaded guilty to charges of theft and preventing a tenant from occupying leased premises without a court order.

He appeared before Mbare magistrate Ms Rutendo Rakafa. In passing sentence, Ms Rakafa indicated that Sibanda should compensate his tenant for all the property he sold. She said he had destroyed his tenant's business operations by selling his machines.

Ms Rakafa noted that Sibanda had no right to sell his tenant's machines without a court order and, therefore, found him guilty of both charges. In mitigation, Sibanda pleaded with the court to be lenient with him because he was a businessman assisting the country by creating employment.

Prosecutor Mr Funnel Madanire proved that Sibanda had a lease agreement with Pacefootwear Private Limited, represented by Alex Magonde, who left his son Ronald Magonde in charge of the premises.

The agreement with Pacefootwear was from February 1, 2012 to January 31 this year. Magonde failed to pay monthly rentals from October 2015 to July last year. On October 11 last year, Sibanda locked the premises without a court order and, thereby, disturbing production.

On June 7 last year, he went on to auction the company's machinery without the owner's knowledge. The total value of goods stolen and auctioned was $2 225 273 and nothing was recovered.

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