A warrant of arrest was issued for Andrew Nkani, the Zanu-PF MP for Chakari on Monday after he failed to show up in court to face fraud charges.
Nkani, a director of Forward Housing Cooperative, is accused of defrauding home-seeking teachers of US$80,000 in a botched housing stands deal.
The legislator was scheduled to appear at the Harare Magistrate’s Court but was nowhere to be found when his name was called out in court.
The complainant is the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Housing Cooperative represented by its chairperson, Andrew Karonyo.
Prosecutors say sometime in 2011, Karonyo and 99 other teachers formed the cooperative which was issued with a certificate of registration by the Small to Medium Enterprises ministry on January 29, 2013.
Prosecutor Moses Mapanga said the cooperative then started looking for residential stands to allocate to its members.
“During the same year, the cooperative was introduced to Nkani through the ministry as an approved auditor who was running a project with the City of Harare,” alleged Mapanga.
Karonyo called for a general meeting with PTUZ members and invited Nkani and officials from the Small to Medium Enterprises ministry.
In the meeting, Nkani allegedly advised members that he has 100 residential stands in Budiriro 5 Extension, each measuring 300 square metres.
He allegedly claimed each member was supposed to contribute $800 to qualify for the allocation of stands. The cooperative accepted the terms and both parties entered into a memorandum of agreement.
In November 2014, the cooperative raised the required US$80,000 and PTUZ Housing Cooperative transferred US$63,000 from its Banc ABC account to Forward Housing ZB Bank account.
The balance of US$17,000 was allegedly paid to Nkani in cash and he acknowledged receipt of all payments, the court heard.
The cooperative then engaged Nkani for stands allocation but he allegedly gave excuses, claiming he was yet to get a permit and offer letter from City of Harare.
It is alleged that he demanded an additional US$2,000 for the development permit to be issued and another US$5,000 for drawing of water and sewer diagrams. It is alleged he demanded the cooperative to raise US$4,000 for offer letters which was duly paid.
The court heard the cooperative kept asking for stands from Nkani who eventually allocated 40 stands. Of the allocated stands, the court heard that the cooperative discovered that five of the stands were allocated to multiple individuals.
Nkani allegedly assured them that the stands were indeed theirs. However, the cooperative could not claim the stands as they were already developed.
The court heard that Karonyo made several efforts to have Nkani handover the outstanding stands and resolve the issue of double allocations but nothing materialised.
Karonyo also approached the City of Harare which distanced itself from the issue. The state alleges that Nkani still owes the cooperative 65 stands.