FORMER First Lady, Grace Mugabe is being accused of grabbing two Harare residential stands belonging to Rumbidzai Ankomah (nee Mzembi) and Xavier Mzembi which she gave to her relatives.
The Mzembis have approached the High Court seeking an order directing Grace’s sister, Shuvai Gumbochuma and a relative, Farai Mashonganyika, to compensate them or give them back the stands namely Numbers 91 and 228 Carrick Creagh, Borrowdale, which are valued at US$900 000.
A housing co-operative alleged that Grace arm-twisted its officials into allocating the stands to her two relatives.
Sally Mugabe Heights Housing Co-operative, Arosume Property Development (Pvt) Ltd, the developer, Gumbochuma, Mashonganyika and Local Government minister July Moyo were cited as respondents in the application.
The Mzembis are demanding payment in the sum of US$900 000 or its equivalent in local currency being the present market value of stands which plaintiffs were allocated by the housing co-operative after they paid their fees and development and service charges in full.
In her affidavit, Ankomah said in November 2004, they joined Sally Mugabe Housing Co-operative which was developing land in Carrick Creagh.
She said she paid the development costs in full which amounted to US$78 572 the plaintiffs were allocated two stands, namely 276 and 277 in January 2007.
The housing co-operative on various occasions, the latest being through a letter dated April 30, 2021, confirmed that the plaintiffs paid the membership fees, all service and development costs for the two stands in full.
After a re-numbering exercise done by Arosume Property Development, which took over from the original developers, Exodus Development Consultancy, the plaintiffs’ stand numbers were changed to 91 and 228. The housing co-operative advised the plaintiffs about the changes in a letter dated June 10, 2007.
Stand 91 is 8 003 square metres and stand 228 is 12 098 square metres.
“Contrary to the position that the plaintiffs had fully paid for the service charges and development costs of the stands, on October 17, 2011, Arosume furnished the plaintiffs with a bill in the sum of US$57 762 for each stand. Nevertheless, the plaintiffs continued to dispute the new charges that were being levied. Upon further investigation the plaintiffs discovered that their stands had since been occupied by Gumbochuma and Mashonganyika. Moreover, the Local Government minister had issued the plaintiffs with title deeds.
“This was despite the fact that the lands in question were acquired through the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development and the stands were not part of the commonage, but belonged to Sally Mugabe Heights Co-operative,” Ankomah submitted.
“As such, there is a possibility that the transfers were of a fraudulent nature especially considering that both the Housing Co-operative and Arosume deny recommending the two to be given title deeds by the Minister of Local Government.
“The plaintiffs suspect that Arosume’s demand for more development fees was in an effort to discourage them from pursuing their properties and mask the corruption involved in swindling the plaintiffs of the stands. This is further emphasised and to reduce the asking price of development fees to US$20 per square meter.” Newsday