The founder of Royal Palm Trust and a consultant at real estate agency Knight Frank have appeared in court on allegations of defrauding unsuspecting home seekers of US$90 000-00 in botched residential stands deals.
Washington Musiiwa (44) and Uzillah Munyengerwa (42) were facing fraud charges when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Yeukai Dzuda.
They were freed on $30 000 bail each.
As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered not to interfere with witnesses and to continue residing at their given addresses.
Complainants are beneficiaries of Royal Palm Trust being represented by Tinotenda Chihera.
The court heard that sometime in 2020, the two accused connived to defraud home seekers.
Munyengerwa allegedly invited some women to form a trust for the purposes of purchasing land for residential stands.
It is alleged that Musiiwa was appointed as an agent and misrepresented to the trust beneficiaries that he was acting on
behalf of Knight Frank, a real estate agency in the transaction.
Sometime in June 2021, Musiiwa drafted an agreement of sale after he was tasked to sale stand number 11532 of lot 17 Tynwald by the seller, James Kimani Gecau who is in Kenya.
The agreement of sale was handed over to Munyengeterwa who misrepresented to the beneficiaries of the trust that there was an agreement between them and the seller.
The two accused persons forged the seller’s signature on the agreement of sale.
It is the State’s case that the trust’s beneficiaries were made to pay contributions towards the purchase, development and servicing of the land. They were advised by Munyengerwa that the land was priced at US$540 000-00 by the seller. The complainant and other beneficiaries contributed the money and were shown a fraudulent agreement of sale with a total of USD$540 000-00 on a Knight Frank letterhead.
The court heard that on October 8, 2020, a genuine agreement of sale was signed between the seller and Munyengerwa who was representing the complainants for the property which was valued at USD$450 000-00.
It is alleged that one of the beneficiaries, then visited the Deeds Office to verify the authenticity of the land after Munyengerwa failed to produce the original documents of the property.
She discovered that an agreement of sale with a total of USD$450 000-00 was in the deed file whilst they were made to pay USD$540 000-00 and discovered that they were duped by the two accused persons.
On November 23, 2021 the trust’s beneficiaries convened a meeting and they instructed Munyengeterwa and his accomplice to explain the difference in amounts on the two agreements of sale.
It is the State’s case that sometime in November 2021, Munyengerwa refunded a total of USD$10 000.
On November 29, 2021 she also brought another USD$20 000 and an acknowledgement of USD$60 000 debt from Musiiwa.
The court heard that on January 22, Musiiwa brought to the complainants a total of USD$60 000 as a refund.
As a result of the accused’s actions, the complainants suffered prejudice to the tune of USD$90 000 which was wholly recovered.