HomeLocal NewsCo-operative ‘snatcher’ pleads not guilty

Co-operative ‘snatcher’ pleads not guilty

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HARARE South Housing Association Apex Board treasurer, Antony Muchato, who is accused of attempting to steal a housing co-operative at Retreat Farm housing project with over 5 500 stands, has pleaded not guilty to the offence.

CHARLES LAITON,SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Muchato is alleged to have unceremoniously pulled out of Harare South Housing Co-operative Society after forming his co-operative under the name Harare South Housing Union which he attempted to register the former’s stands with Ministry of Local Government.

According to the State, Muchato (42) was last year in August tasked by Harare South Housing Co-operative Society board chairperson, Tonderai Nkomo, to process a partnership agreement with the government for the development of 5 544 residential stands at Retreat Farm housing project. The partnership agreement, according to the State, was supposed to be between Harare South Housing Association Apex Board and the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development.

Muchato, however, allegedly failed to comply with the given instructions, but rather went ahead and changed the co-operative’s name to a non-existent entity called Harare South Housing Union (Apex Board), instead of Harare South Housing Apex Co-operative Society Limited.

In his defence filed on Wednesday last week, Muchato denied leaving Harare South Housing Co-operative Society and stated that at all material times prior to the August 2, 2012, when he is alleged to have left the board, and to date, he had full authority from the co-operative.

“Accused will state at all material times and prior to the 2nd of August 2012 and to the date of commencement of this trial, that he had full authority from Harare South Housing Co-operative Society to enter the partnership of the 2nd August and that he effected the said agreement in compliance of that authority, and mandate from Harare South Housing Co-operative Society.” Muchato’s lawyer Advocate Deepak Mehta and Mehta said.

“Accused will state that he has made no misrepresentation, whatsoever to the Ministry of Local Government and that the complaint is malicious and vexatious.

“State papers provided to the defence in relation to this main charge are not complete and it is averred to this court that no statement has been provided to the defence, from the Ministry of Local Government and more specifically RA Shawatu of his allegations relating to misrepresentation.”

“Accordingly the defence outline will be amended if necessary once this statement is viewed and considered by defence counsel hereunder.”

The State is represented by Fanuel Madanire and the trial date has been set for Tuesday next week.

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