FIFTY High Court of Zimbabwe employees may have fallen victim to an alleged property fraudster after discovering that a housing cooperative they had subscribed to did not have any residential stands to offer.
Report by Wonai Masvingise
Evershine Housing Development cooperative, which operates in Harare, is being accused of defrauding desperate home seekers after promising them stands and collecting premiums since 2010.
In an interview with NewsDay, Nyasha Mushowe, an employee at the High Court, said he had investigated and discovered that the company was not registered with the relevant authorities.
“They came to our offices saying they were a housing firm. Since 2010 they have been getting money from us through stop orders with the Salaries Services Bureau (SSB). These people are not even registered at the City Council or even at the
small-to-medium-scale enterprises,” Mushowe said.
“Their argument to us was that they were not registered because they buy land that is already developed, but serviced stands are really expensive and I don’t think they have the capacity to buy those stands. We were 50 beneficiaries from the High Court and there are others from other ministries, but after we discovered that these guys don’t actually have any stands, we decided to pull out.”
Mushowe added that getting refunds was now proving difficult.
“They said they would refund us after three months and that they would only give us back 60% of our money and the rest they would charge for administration purposes. I went to them yesterday and they said there was no money so they would give us after six months. They also said they would now refund us 50% instead of 60%. They are actually in the process of refunding some people right now,” Mushowe added.
Investigations by NewsDay revealed that the cooperative was still accepting money from home seekers promising them serviced stands.
A man from the cooperative who identified himself as Collin Layman said they had land near Chikurubi Maximum Prison, ready for purchase.
“We have two schemes, cash and credit. We have stands in Eastview which is just after Chikurubi near Circle cement. At the moment we are allocating those that registered first and the rest get their stands after 36 months,” Layman said.
Pressed over the High Court employees’ allegations, another official who identified himself as Calisto Mazhetese said the cooperative was registered and their business was above board.
“I don’t know why those people say we are not registered. We registered at the Ministry of Justice as well as at the Deeds Office. We are also registered where co-operatives are registered. We registered as a trust,” Mazhetese said.
“We had promised to give them (home seekers) stands after three years, but some of them defaulted so they now say they want their money back.
“We don’t keep money like banks do so we asked them to give us time to give them their money back.”