Former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister, Shuvai Junior Gumbochuma, who is accused of fraudulently acquiring vast tracts of government land worth more than $2 million, is negotiating a deal to turn into a State witness in a case in which former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere is accused of parcelling out the land to her.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga yesterday asked magistrate Elisha Singano to postpone the case to January 22 to allow him to finalise talks with Gumbochuma’s defence team, led by Lovemore Madhuku.
“We are now in possession of the docket, and we need to finalise the discussions we are having with the defence, with a possibility to come up with a trial date,” Macharaga said.
But Singano asked Macharaga to explain to the court the nature of the discussions.
Madhuku came to Macharaga’s defence, telling the magistrate that the State had dangled an offer to his client to be a State witness and those discussions have to be completed before a trial date could be provided.
“Your Worship, we are discussing a matter where our client is regarded as a witness and the State gave us an offer and we haven’t clarified our position regarding the offer and that is the discussion we are engaging in,” Madhuku told court.
Allegations are that sometime in August 2014, stand number 139 and 140 Gillingham Estate in Dzivarasekwa, Harare, was made available for sale to developers who could develop high-density urban residential stands.
It is alleged Gumbochuma, in a bid to acquire the land, misrepresented that she had the capacity to develop it.
The State alleges that on March 27, 2015, Gumbochuma was offered stand number 140 Gillingham, as evidenced by the offer letter that originated from the ministry.
She was then required to pay an intrinsic land value of $424 426 to the Local Government ministry.
It is further alleged that Gumbochuma, who neither had the capacity to pay the intrinsic land value nor to develop the land, then created and registered a company Scanlen (Pvt) Ltd as a vehicle to further her fraudulent transaction.
Gumbochuma allegedly sold the said land for $2 060 000, without paying for the land.
N-Frasys then paid the intrinsic land value to the Local Government ministry and paid the balance to Gumbochuma.
It is alleged that Gumbochuma’s conduct was prejudicial to the good administration of the ministry, as she profiteered from State land, thereby distorting the market value of the State land from a mere $424 426 to an inflated value of $2 060 000.
In February 2016, Gumbochuma, a former director of Rodonior and Bojunior Investments, is also accused of misrepresenting facts that Rodonior was a registered company, capable of contracting as a legal persona.
It is also alleged the ministry allocated 150 hectares of land in Goodhope to Rodonior Investments.
Investigations were made with the Registrar of Deeds of Companies and confirmed that Rodonior was not registered.
The State alleges that due to Gumbochuma’s actions, the ministry suffered prejudice to its good administration.
Sometime in August 2016, she was again allocated 20 hectares in Chishawasha, although the offer letter was withdrawn on September 15 last year.