A Harare housing cooperative chairperson Innocent Pedzisai who conned businessman and artiste Energy Mutodi’s National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) of $315 000 in a botched property deal was yesterday convicted of theft of trust property.
Report by Charles Laiton
Pedzisai (46) who heads Leopold Takawira Housing Co-operative, and owns Innop Housing Co-operative was initially charged with fraud, but regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa convicted him of a competent verdict instead.
He was remanded in custody to October 11 for sentence after submissions in mitigation by his lawyer and in aggravation by prosecutor Editor Mavuto. In his judgement, Tsikwa said it was clear Pedzisai abused NHDT funds, which were meant for the purchase of residential stands for civil servants and other prospective home owners.
The court heard that in January last year, Mutodi’s manager Chandafira Pasipamire, representing NHDT, was introduced to Pedzisai, who indicated he was selling land at Marimba Park in Harare.
Although Pedzisai knew that the area in Aspindale, Harare, referred to as stand number 48 belonged to Leopold Takawira Housing Co-operative, he single-handedly offered it for sale to NHDT at a price of $2 205 000.
He facilitated the signing of an agreement of sale of the piece of land between himself and Pasipamire after demanding a $15 000 deposit and monthly instalments of $42 000 which were duly paid to him. The court heard that after receiving $315 000 from NHDT, Pedzisai failed to own up to the agreement by handing the property to NHDT or to account for the cash he received.
This prompted Pasipamire, who was the complainant in the matter, to report to the police, leading to Pedzisai’s arrest.