ZCFU officials charged with fraud

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Two senior Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) officials have been charged with fraud after they allegedly swindled the union of over $185 000 following a failed bid to secure a free commercial stand from the City of Harare.

ZCFU president and director Wilson Nyabonda (55) and treasurer Phillip Tauyanago (45) were charged alongside Degom Construction Company director Denny Mharapara (43) and Maidei Maswi (46), whose designation was not stated in the court papers.

The four appeared before regional magistrate Simon Rogers Kachambwa on Friday last week and were remanded out of custody to April 4 for trial.

It is alleged sometime in September 2008, the ZCFU management resolved to construct the union’s headquarters and applied for a stand from the city council.

In October of the same year, the union applied for an open space at the corner of Rekayi Tangwena Avenue and Belvedere Road, through Degom Construction Company which they had contracted as the project consultant.

In 2009, the council is said to have subdivided the site and created stand number 19704 which ZCFU was offered for $185 000.

It is alleged Nyabonda and Tauyanago negotiated to have the stand donated to the union.

The council reportedly accepted the proposal, but later withdrew the offer on the grounds that the land had been designated for construction of a civic centre.

However, before the council withdrew its free offer, Nyabonda, and Tauyanago allegedly advised other ZCFU members that the stand had been offered at a price of $185 000 and on different dates, they requested for cash amounting to $138 000 as payment for the stand and converted the money to their own use together with Mharapara.

Later, Nyabonda and Tauyanago allegedly processed all payments through Mharapara’s company but