Suspected land baron faces US$21 000 fraud charges A suspected land baron Webster Ngwaru (right), who is facing US$21 000 fraud charges, arrives at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday. — Picture: Lee Maidza

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

A SUSPECTED land baron allegedly duped two unsuspecting property buyers of US$21 000.

Webster Ngwaru, who is facing two counts of fraud, was yesterday remanded to April 23 on bail of US$250 by Harare magistrate Mrs Apollonia Marutya.

Prosecutor Mr Thomas Chanakira alleged that in 2019, Chingwaru misrepresented to Ms Tendai Chinhema, who was in Australia, through an advertisement that he was selling residential stands between Mabvuku in eastern Harare and Zimre Park in Ruwa.

Ms Chinhema bought a 800-square-meter stand valued at US$6 500 and completed paying  in instalments in November 2019. She then bought a second stand for US$7 000 and both stands were in her name and she was given receipts.

However, when she sought to develop the stands, she was stopped in her tracks by Harare City Council officials who told her the land had never belonged to Ngwaru and was not for sell.

Buildings on other stands that had been developed in that area had since been demolished.  Ms Chinhema went to Ngwaru’s offices to be removed from the housing scheme and be refunded her money.

The two reached an agreement where Ms Chinhema would receive US$10 000 and collect the balance in instalments. Ngwaru failed to honour the agreement and Ms Chinhema lost the entire US$15 750 that she paid for the land.

On the second count, the State alleged that in January this year, Ngwaru advertised that he was selling stands in Crowhill Estate, Borrowdale, Harare.

On January 31 last year, Ollyn Rudo Kanyenze (58) went to Ngwaru’s office and was taken to view the stands by someone named Mr Makaza.

Ms Kanyenze paid an administration fee of US$350 and US$5 000 cash towards the purchase of the residential stand which was valued at US$8 500. The balance was to be paid in instalments.

A month later, Ms Kanyenze went to check if there were any developments taking place in the area but there were none.

On June 6, Ngwaru wrote her a letter informing her that she had defaulted on instalments so her money was to be refunded after 90 days.

On September 4, Ms Kanyenze visited Ngwaru’s offices and was told they had no money to refund her.

Since then Ngwaru became evasive, leading her to file a police report. Ms Kanyenze lost US$5 350 and nothing was recovered.

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