BUSINESSMAN and musician Energy Mutodi’s trial over allegations of swindling home seekers of $588 000 continued yesterday with two State witnesses narrating to the court how they were allegedly defrauded of their money after they were promised residential stands.
Tadius Sibanda, a police officer based in Mutoko, told presiding magistrate Hosea Mujaya that he lost a total of $800 that he paid in instalments over a period of one year.
Led by prosecutor Michael Reza, he said he joined the scheme in Mutare and started contributing in January 2012, but had not been allocated the promised stand to date.
Sibanda said although he had never directly interacted with Mutodi, officials at his trust assured him that he would get an offer letter but when it did not materialise, he made a police report. He said if he had known that Mutodi’s National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) had no land in Mutare, he would never have joined the scheme.
During cross-examination by Mutodi’s lawyer Witness Chinyama, Sibanda, however, said he never checked with the local authority in Mutare to confirm whether or not the accused person owned land in Mutare. He added that he knew nothing about Gimboki, the piece of land where NHDT was selling residential stands.
Another State witness, Tambudzai Chadambuka, said she joined the trust in 2007 while teaching at Warren Park High School and had money deducted through the Salaries Service Bureau (SSB).
Chadambuka said she was told that she would get her residential stand after contributing to the scheme for two years.
She said she was later informed that residential stands at Crowhill had all been taken up and was given an option at Caledonia and later, in Chizhanje.
She said she paid an allocation fee of $150 in Chizhanje and monthly instalments of $140 for one year but never got the residential stand.
Mutodi and his co–accused, who are facing 448 counts of fraud, allegedly lured over 16 000 civil servants to join and contribute to the housing trust.Deduction orders were allegedly given to the SSB to collect certain amounts of money monthly.
Sometime in 2007, Mutodi allegedly changed the account signing arrangement, and made himself the sole signatory. At least $588 787 was paid in by the complainants and Mutodi allegedly converted it to his own use.