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‘Loan shark’ speaks out

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Frank Buyanga — an alleged loan shark accused of cheating 500 people out of their houses and residential stands — has broken his silence declaring his activities above board and that he is a victim of a conspiracy by the multitude of his debtors.
In an exclusive interview yesterday, Buyanga, who runs Hamilton Property Holdings, said his debtors had connived against him and had even at one stage met at a secret location in Milton Park to plot how not to pay him back.
He insisted that he did not lend money to any of his debtors but had entered into agreements of sale with them, where they voluntarily gave up their properties for cash.
He said his activities were not criminal and that he was not wanted by Interpol as media reports had suggested.
Buyanga went on to produce an Interpol background check from the Harare Offices.
The letter, signed by acting officer-in-charge of Interpol Harare Detective Assistant Inspector R Pedzisai reads in part: “Kindly be advised that Frank Buyanga, NR 63 1024676 L03, passport number BN787406, born on 14 September 1979 has no criminal record.”
“A search was made on the Interpol database and nothing detrimental was found.”
Media reports yesterday said Buyanga would lend people various sums of money on condition they surrendered their title deeds as surety.
It was also alleged he made them sign loan agreements, powers of attorney and an eviction notice in the event that they failed to settle the debts.
Buyanga allegedly started selling some of his clients’ properties before
they had settled their debts, it was reported. But he said: “These people came to my office voluntarily looking for money and we entered into agreements of sale where I bought their properties in return for cash. The agreements of sale had options where they could buy back the houses, if they paid back the money within an agreed period which was usually between three and six months. But, if they failed the buy-back option, the property would be forfeited. And this was agreed on.”
NewsDay is in possession of some of the agreements of sale. “It was not a loan. It was an agreement of sale which was signed in the presence of witnesses and at the premises of a third party — a lawyer,” Buyanga said. “Basically what would happen is that I would buy the property for say, $100 000 and agree with the person that they could buy back the property for say $107 000. The people who have conspired against me are people who have failed to exercise the buying back option.”
“Most people took loans ranging between $10 000 and $250 000. He said some have since paid up while others have failed hence the “noise.”
Buyanga said one person who had failed to exercise the buy-back option had mobilised other debtors to lay charges against him at the meeting in Milton Park.
Buyanga, who said he had video evidence of all his debtors agreeing to sell their properties, said he was owed about $7 million. He said the 32 debtors who connived against him owed him about $2 million and was contemplating taking legal action against them.
“I have entered into agreements with many other people who have exercised the buy-back option without problems,” he said.
Asked where he sourced the money from, Buyanga said he was using a $25 million United Kingdom hedge fund to finance his operations.

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