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Land baron jailed

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FORMER Harare North Housing Co-operatives Union chairperson and aspiring Zanu PF provincial chairperson Justice Zvandasara has been jailed for four years after he was convicted of a $4 million fraud involving the illegal sale of residential stands in Hatcliffe.

BY CHARLES LAITON,SENIOR COURT REPORTER

The court heard that the land in question belonged to Mutare South MP Nyasha Chikwinya (Zanu PF) and Jonathan Gapare.

Zvandasara, however, will serve an effective two-year jail term, after the magistrate suspended the other two years on condition of good behaviour.

He was convicted together with his co-accused Tichaona Suruware, who was also slapped with an equivalent sentence after the State produced overwhelming evidence against them while their other co-accused Blessing Sigareta was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Regional magistrate Temba Kuwanda concurred with prosecutor Oliver Marwa’s suggestion in aggravation that the convicts should be slapped with “short and sharp” sentences. Community service, they argued, would not suffice because it would spark public anger.

The court heard during trial that Zvandasara’s union was unregistered and that Chikwinya is the director of property development firm, Pilgrims Rest Properties.

During the land reform programme, Chikwinya was allocated Pilgrims Rest Farm measuring 150 hectares before it was re-demarcated into two where the other half was allocated to Mama Mafuyana Housing Co-operative.

Alternative land for Chikwinya’s company was also identified at Hatcliffe North Phase 2.

On June 21 last year, Chikwinya and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development signed a memorandum of agreement allocating the land and transferring administration into her name.

She started servicing the land, which she subdivided into low, medium and high-density stands under layout plan number HOE27.

However, Zvandasara, who knew about the project, misrepresented to unsuspecting home seekers that he had lawfully acquired the same piece of land and sold 496 stands to home-seekers who immediately occupied the land.

He also used the same modus operandi to prejudice Alpha Developers, another property development company, of 324 stands valued at $1 555 000.

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