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Court to rule on US$600k land scam

26 May, 2020 - 00:05 0 Views
Court to rule on US$600k land scam

The Herald

Court Correspondent

Harare Regional Magistrate Mrs Sandra Mupindu is today expected to deliver judgment in the matter for three Tobacco Sales Limited bosses who were acquitted in 2014 in a case which they were being accused of selling a farm for US$600 000 after it had been gazetted by Government for acquisition under the land reform programme.

The judgement comes after High Court Judge Justice Hungwe overruled the magistrate’s acquittal saying it was not proper following, Prosecutor Mr Micheal Reza’s appeal against it.

Justice Hungwe overruled magistrate Mupindu’s acquittal and ordered the accused persons to be put to their defence.

TSL chief executive officer, Washington Matsaire former chief executive officer Richard Musvaire and finance director Peter Mujaya, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

That same year in 2014 Mrs Mupindu, cleared the trio after their lawyer, Mr Addington Chinake, made an application for discharge at the close of the State case on the grounds that no prima-facie case had been proven.

Mr Reza opposed the application, arguing that the trio had a case to answer and should be put to their defence.

But Mrs Mupindu said there was no complainant in the matter, adding that the said complainant, Mr Mahomed Ibahim Yakub, had no grounds to stand in that capacity.

“This same farm was previously allocated to Margaret Zinyemba twice and was withdrawn twice,” she said.

“Placing the three to their defence will be perpetuating underhand dealings upon underhand dealings. Therefore, the accused persons are found not guilty and acquitted.”

The State alleged that in August 2011, Yakub engaged TSL who were selling their flower growing business in Concession, Mazowe.

Yakub was told that TSL had a subsidiary company called Laxorflor Roses located in Concession, which was selling 50 percent of its shares, the State had alleged.

The State further alleged that Yakub was also told by Musvaire that they were leasing Farm Lot 1 of Lot 1 Manyewe Estates, Concession in Mazowe where the flower business was being carried out, for US$600 000 and that US$200 000 of the money was to be paid directly to TSL. The farm measured 4 646 899 hectares and when the lease agreement was concluded, Yakub was to occupy the land for a period of 23 years from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2036. On October 17, 2011, Yakub was allegedly called by Musvaire informing him that the lease of the farm and the flower business purchase were ready.

It was alleged that Yakub paid the US$600 000 after receiving books and records.

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