‘Mliswa in $32m fraud’


Temba Mliswa was back at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of looting 3 000 cattle and farm equipment.
The cattle and farm equipment are valued at $32 million.
The court also heard yesterday that the state intended to bring 40 more charges against him.
Mliswa, the state is alleging, defrauded two farmers of their property and cattle after pretending that he could save the equipment and livestock from expropriation at the time their land was acquired by the state for redistribution.
Mliswa’s lawyer Charles Chinyama yesterday submitted a bail application with respect to the two fraud charges and magistrate Donald Ndirowei deferred ruling to today.
State witness Superintendent Frank Mutengwa told the court that Mliswa had 40 more pending cases which were to be brought to court.
Mliswa is currently on bail on yet another charge of fraud for which he is jointly charged with Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa’s son Martin and one George Marare. They are alleged to have attempted to forcibly take over a vehicle accessories company. Mliswa is accused of having fraudulently claimed ownership of at least 50% of the company. He threatened the company owner, Paul Westwood, with his alleged connections to powerful politicians like President Robert Mugabe and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
On the new charges read yesterday, the state said Orlib Park Farm Lot 1 Karoi, owned by Petros Jacob Van Der Merwe, was gazetted for redistribution on June 18 2004 and the owner was ordered to wind up his operations by the end of October the same year.
Mliswa allegedly approached him and misrepresented to him that he was well-connected to influential people who could assist him with regard to his farm equipment which he was not allowed to remove or sell.
An arrangement was made to the effect that Mliswa would sell the equipment on 10% commission on behalf of Van Der Merwe. He allegedly sold the property and converted the proceeds to his own use.
Mliswa allegedly annexed part of the property which included 104 cows, four bulls, three heavy vehicles, a cold room, three tractors, a hammer mill, irrigation equipment, and generators all valued at $3 644 058.
On the other count, the state alleges that Graham George Davis was the owner of Dunlop Range Farm in Kwekwe which was being managed by Nico Van Ransburg. On January 9 2006, a Mr Matambanadzo approached Davis with an offer letter from the Ministry of Lands to take over the farm.
Mliswa allegedly learnt that the farm had been allocated to Matambanadzo and approached Davis whom he told that in order for his property and farm equipment to be protected from seizure, he had to pretend that there was an agreement of sale between himself and Van Ransburg.
The state alleged that unknown to Van Ransburg, he appended his signature to the agreement with the hope that his property would be protected from seizure. After conclusion of the deal, Mliswa allegedly took 3 000 herd of cattle valued at $9 million and farm equipment valued at $20 million. However Mliswa’s lawyer challenged the state saying that the cases had long been withdrawn by either the police or the complainants and his client had been acquitted on some of the mentioned cases.
Chinyama challenged the state’s allegations and produced a copy of the High Court Order by Justice Lavender Makoni which authorised the take-over of all the property mentioned in the Kwekwe case by Soltex Pvt Ltd.
Mliswa, through his lawyer, also said in his bail application that he never entered into the alleged agreement with Van Der Merwe but instead it was World Mark Sports International that did.