HomeNewsFarmer ‘swindles trust, sells State land’

Farmer ‘swindles trust, sells State land’

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A 76-year-old farmer from Mashonaland East Province accused of selling State land has refused to let go the property despite the government having compulsorily acquired it for resettlement purposes eight years ago.

BY CHARLES LAITON SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Nicholas Hatidane, the former owner of Lot 2 of Subdivision E, Binder Farm in Goromonzi, told regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa yesterday that the property still belonged to him.

Hatidane reportedly sold the gazetted land, which was compulsorily acquired by the State on April 7 2004, to the Kudamusi Family Trust for $60 980,64 – including the purchase price and administrative expenses – last year.

It, however, turned out that the farm belonged to Michael Ian Heath and Fiona Heath who bought it at an auction in 1996 after Hatidane lost it to one Cain Usenga, who approached the courts in August 1996 and won a writ of execution.

The sale of the farm was then confirmed by the late Master of the High Court Charles Nyatanga on September 19 1996 and eventually auctioned to the Heath family.

But in his defence, Hatidane’s lawyer Stephen Chibune said: “He (Hatidane) has since then been in possession of the farm up to now. In summary, the accused (Hatidane) will state that the confusion was caused by the public sale of his property to the Heaths, which was done improperly, unprocedurally and unlawfully. ”

Despite the farm belonging to the State, Hatidane went to the Lands and Land Resettlement ministry sometime in November 2010 and allegedly lied that he was still the rightful owner of the property.

Acting on the misrepresentation, the ministry issued a “Certificate of No Present Interest” in favour of Hatidane indicating the government had no intention to acquire the land for resettlement.

Armed with the certificate in January last year, Hatidane allegedly advertised on the Internet that he was selling the farm.
Kudamusi Family Trust – the complainant in the matter – enquired and agreed to buy the farm for $55 000 after Hatidane showed the trust a deed of transfer.

When the trust lodged the papers with the Deeds Office for change of ownership, it was advised that the farm was gazetted.
Michael Reza prosecuted.

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