A Pumula resident was recently allegedly duped R75 000 by a housing consultancy company in a deal in which she wanted to buy a house in Cowdray Park.
This was heard by Bulawayo magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa on Friday during the appearance in court of Beka Mjubeki Hlabangani (64) who operates Mehlo Consultancy. Hlabangani pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.
The magistrate granted him $100 bail and remanded the case to June 24 for continuation of trial.
He was also ordered to reside at his given residential address, report to Central Investigation Department Fraud Section on a fortnightly basis, and not to interfere with witnesses until the case was finalised.
In October 2010, Petty Ncube’s daughter-in-law Sylvia Machava returned from South Africa intending to buy a house. She had R200 000 which she left with her mother-in-law.
Ncube, her sister Simeleni Vundla and Joseph Ndlovu approached Hlabangani who allegedly misrepresented that he was selling a house in Cowdray Park on behalf of his brother Sibanda Jamela. He told them the house was worth R85 000.
On October 16, Ncube then went to Hlabangani’s office in the city where she paid R20 000 towards the purchase of the house.
Hlabangani receipted the money in a Mehlo Consultancy receipt book. Vundla and Ndlovu witnessed the transaction. Hlabangani later went to show them the house.
On November 28, Machava brought R45 000 which Ncube again took to Hlabangani to pay for the house before making yet another payment of R10 000 on February 9 this year.
After payment of the R75 000, Ncube then asked for the change of ownership of the house, but Hlabangani said the owner of the house wanted full payment to be made before she could cede ownership of the property.
On February 11, Ncube met Jamela who told her that he was selling the house to someone else since Ncube was failing to pay for it.
Ncube confronted Hlabangani over the issue but could not get a satisfactory explanation, prompting her to report the matter to the police.