A prominent Harare lawyer, Edson Tapiwa Mudambanuki last week appeared in court after allegedly fleecing a client in a $250 000 property deal.
BY CHARLES LAITON
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Mudambanuki (50), who is being represented by Everson Chatambudza, was not asked to plead when he appeared before regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya on a count of fraud and theft of trust property.
Allegations against Mudambanuki are that sometime in 2009 he was engaged by Denford Mugauri in a civil dispute which emanated from the latter’s failure to repay a mortgage loan to Zimplast (Pvt) (Ltd).
On March 18 last year, Mugauri was ordered by the High Court to pay Zimplast $150 090 plus interest of 5,8% per annum from May 15, 2008 within six months from the date of the court order.
However, Mugauri instructed Mudambanuki to surrender his (Mugauri) house, but the latter convinced his client to sell the property for profit and was given a mandate to dispose the property to the tune of $250 000.
The State alleges Mudambanuki later secured a buyer, Nhalo Moyo and drafted an agreement of sale which he sent to Mugauri, who was now in South Africa, for signing.
The agreement was then signed.
The transaction, however, failed to materialise and Mudambanuki still had the mandate to sell the property.
However, at the lapse of the six-month High Court order, Mugauri failed to raise the required money and instructed Mudambanuki to surrender the house to Zimplast instead.
In September last year, Mudambanuki, acting contrary to Mugauri’s instructions, entered into another agreement of sale with Moyo and sold the house to him for $210 000 and the full purchase price was paid through Mudambanuki and Associates trust account.
It is alleged athat fter receiving the cash, Mudambanuki transferred $180 000 into Zimplast lawyers’ trust account and converted the difference of $30 000 to his personal use.
However, Zimplast refused to effect change of ownership to Moyo as they had not received the full amount owing and as a result Moyo suffered actual prejudice of
$210 000. The matter was reported to police leading to the lawyer’s arrest.