TOBACCO Sales Limited Company (TSLC) has been accused of fraudulently selling State land in Mazowe resulting in a local businessman losing over $600 000 in a fumbled deal.
The firm, which was represented by its chief executive officer Washington Matsaire, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday this week charged alongside its managing director Richard Musvaire and finance director Peter Mujaya.
TSLC is accused of swindling Mohamed Ibrahim Yaqub, a Harare businessman who is the director of ZAZU (Pvt) Limited, an investment firm.
According to State prosecutor Michael Reza, TSLC allegedly hatched a plan sometime in 2011 and duped Yaqub by selling 50% shares of a firm called Luxaflor Roses. The company, through its representatives, leased Plot, Lot 1 Manyewe Estate in Mazowe, well knowing that the land had been compulsorily acquired by the government nine years back.
The State alleges during the period in question, Yaqub heard of the sale of the land and became interested after which he approached Musvaire for negotiations.
After deliberations were done, Musvaire allegedly confirmed to Yaqub that TSLC had a subsidiary firm Luxaflor Roses selling its 50% of the shares and further that the land upon which the flower business was being conducted was also being leased.
Musvaire allegedly told Yaqub that the flower business was going for $600 000, of which $200 000 was supposed to be paid directly to TSLC. The balance was supposed to be paid to creditors and outstanding expenses including the firm’s royalties.
According to the State papers, Yaqub was also informed that he would be paying $1 800 per month for leasing the place where the flower business was being conducted for 25 years.
However, after making all the payments, Yaqub was surprised in February 2012 when he was approached by one Margret Zinyemba who had an offer letter from the Ministry of Lands claiming she was the rightful owner of the gazetted land.
A lot of deliberations ensued and Yaqub was evicted by Zinyemba before her offer letter was withdrawn by the State.
Senior lands officer in Mazowe, Richard Harinangoni, who testified in court as a State witness, confirmed the tobacco firm sold the State land which on two occasions was offered to Zinyemba through offer letters that were eventually withdrawn.
The land, according to Harinangoni, now belonged to Yaqub who had since been issued with an offer letter.
The trial continues on June 19 before regional magistrate Sandra Mupindu.
All the accused persons have denied the charge.