Zimbabwe: Housing Cooperative Leaders in Us$1m Scam

22 January 2020

Three leaders of Nehanda Housing Cooperative appeared in court on Monday on charges of selling land for US$1,1 million without the knowledge of the cooperative's members and without any legal authority to do so.

Andrew Marauka (60), Keri Mhute (67) and Charles Matapo (60) appeared at the Harare Magistrates' Court charged with fraud.

They were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded them to February 3 on free bail.

Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokota alleged that in 2004, the cooperative was allocated a little over 44ha at Gillingham Estate by the then Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The cooperative's former committee led by Never Kowo surveyed the land, drew up a site plan, pegged the stands, opened roads and put in a sewer reticulation system.

They then built 900 houses for cooperative members.

Prosecutor Mutsokota said on July 22, 2015, the three accused allegedly sold a batch of stands to Sungamberi Chipembere Housing Cooperative for US$289 250 without the approval of the cooperative or a resolution empowering them to do so.

The court also heard that on July 27 the same year, the three allegedly sold another batch of stands to Imbahuru Housing Cooperative for US$814 931 without the blessings of the cooperative.

As a result of these purchases, Imbahuru and Sungamberi Chipembere cooperatives lost a total of US$1 124 181 after Nehanda Housing Cooperative disowned the sale.

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