Former Harare special interest councillor Charles Nyachowe is embroiled in a fight with a 73-year-old woman over a Milton Park property he is renting.
Nyachowe, who left council last month to pursue other business interests, is renting the house in Milton Park for his money-lending company, Vantage Microfinance Banking Ltd.
The house belongs to a white widower, Diane Mary Cutler.
“Nyachowe’s company — Vantage Microfinance Banking Ltd — took a lease with my mother in January of last year (2011),” said Cutler’s daughter, Thea.
She accused Nyachowe of refusing to vacate the property and blocking her attempts to sell the property after the company’s lease agreement expired in January this year.
“The lease agreement was for one year (until the 31st December 2011). However, as we made a mistake in giving too short a notice period, the notice of termination was extended to the end of January 2012 after which Nyachowe agreed his company would vacate the property,” she said.
Cutler said a month before expiry of the lease agreement, the family’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange wrote to Nyachowe asking him to make an offer for purchase of the house, but the former councillor failed to respond within the given timeframe.
“We received written notice from his lawyer (special interest councillor Tembinkosi Magwaliba) that they would not be moving out.
“In fact, the sitting tenants apparently are interested in purchasing the property, but have not followed instructions given in our letter dated December 6, 2011 and therefore have not made any offer to purchase within the timeframe. Maybe they intend to purchase within the next 20 years instead,” she said.
But Nyachowe denied the property grab allegations and accused the family of being racist.
“We are running a microfinance company and we have a huge traffic of people who come to access loans from our offices and they (the Cutlers) made it clear to us they were not happy. It is clear they don’t want anything to do with black people. This matter is a bit on the racial side,” he said.
“They are not happy with offices serving the poor and getting loans for small businesses and getting building materials.”
Added Nyachowe: “The guys wanted to evict us from a property we are tenants at because they wanted to sell the house for $500 000, but according to evaluators, the house costs between
$140 000 to $160 000.
“They should have given us the right of first refusal.”
But according to documents shown to NewsDay, Nyachowe appeared to have been given the right of first refusal in a letter dated December 6, 2011.
The family also accused Nyachowe of failing to pay monthly rentals as well as electricity and water bills.