HARARE businessman Marvelous Shumba, who owns Shongwe Properties, has been accused of duping dozens of home-seekers of thousands of dollars in a scam involving residential stands in a Norton housing project.
By Richard Muponde
Shumba, who is also the proprietor of the suspended Regal Insurance Company, reportedly sold stands in Knowe suburb in Norton to a number of home-seekers who paid varying amounts for the development of the area.
However, despite the lack of development, Shumba allegedly wrote to the residents, who had finished paying for their stands, but stopped paying the development fees due to lack of the agreed development, threatening to repossess stands.
The agreements of sale compelled the home-seekers to complete paying the purchase price of the stands by December 31, 2019 which all had reportedly done.
But to their surprise, Shumba sent them letters last month advising them that he was repossessing the stands because of the outstanding development fees which were not part of the agreements of sale.
The agreement was that outstanding development fees would attract interest.
In a letter of written to one of the paid-up home-seeker dated February 10, 2020, seen by NewsDay Weekender, Shumba advised him that his stand had been repossessed with effect from the day the letter was authored.
“This serves to formally inform you that the seller, Marvellous Shumba of Shongwe Property Developers is repossessing the above plot sold to you in 2018,” part of the letter read.
“This is due to your breach of contractual obligation to pay funds that are due to the seller despite numerous calls to do so. We, therefore, advise you that the stand has been repossessed with effect from February 10. Kindly visit our offices for arrangement of refund for as per agreement of sale.”
However an affected home-seeker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Shumba had duped them because repossession of stands was agreed would be effected if one failed to pay the purchase amount by December 31, 2018.
“In the agreement of sale, he said development fees would not warrant repossession of the stands, but an interest.
What he is now doing is duping us because we paid the full amount for the purchase of the stands,” the home-seeker said.
“We were promised access to our serviced stands once we have paid the deposit, this didn’t happen. We demanded performance on developments and none was forthcoming from Shongwe’s offices. The stand owners demanded audience with Mr Shumba on countless times but he refused to meet with them.”
He added: “We never received calls or letters of demand for these development fees as he was aware he had not met his obligation of delivering the stands to us.”
“A WhatsApp group formed by his office for the stand owners shows that they have been demanding development on the project without response.”
A perusal of the agreement of sale indeed confirmed that non-payment of development fees attracted a 20% interest not repossession of stands.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Shumba were fruitless as he has not been picking calls since last week.
Shumba is reportedly also the owner of a dubious company, Cattle Ownership Society, which duped civil servants into paying for cattle after being told they would receive the beasts in three years, but the agreement was not met.
His Regal Insurance has been suspended from underwriting any business following its failure to settle policy claims, this paper has established.
Documents seen by this paper show that the insurance firm is under investigation by the Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) after fleecing policy holders.
A communiqué by Ipec acting commissioner, Blessmore Kazengura, to Regal Insurance dated September 20 2019, notified the company that the commission had resolved to institute investigations, commencing September 24 in terms of the Insurance Act.