By Paul Katanda
THE founder of Royal Palm Trust and a female consultant with top real estate firm, Knight Frank, have appeared in court for defrauding home seekers of up to US$90 000.
Washington Musiiwa and Uzillah Munyengeterwa, appeared before the Harare Magistrate court answering allegations of fraud. They were remanded on ZW$30 000 bail each.
The court heard that sometime in December 2020, the two worked on a plan to defraud home seekers and Munyengeterwa allegedly invited some women so that they could start a trust whose aim was to deal in residential stands.
Musiiwa was then appointed as an agent for this trust, purporting to act on behalf of Knight Frank.
Sometime in June 2021, Musiiwa drafted an agreement of sale after he was tasked to sale stand number 11532 of lot Tynwald by James Kimani Gecau, who is based in Kenya.
The agreement of sale was handed over to Munyengeterwa who misinterpreted to the beneficiaries of the trust that there was an agreement between them and the seller. The two then allegedly forged the seller’s signature on the agreement of sale.
The trust’s beneficiaries were made to pay contributions towards the purchase, development and servicing the land.
The beneficiaries were told that the land was priced at US$540 00 by the seller and the contribution was made then the beneficiaries were allegedly shown a fraudulent agreement of sale with a total of US$540 000 on the Knight Frank letter head.
On October 28, 2021, a genuine agreement of sale was signed between the seller and Munyengeterwa, who was representing the complainant for the property which was valued at US$450 000.
One of the beneficiaries then then carried out a deeds search after Munyengeterwa failed to produce the original documents of the property and she realised that what they were made to contribute, and the original price of the land had a difference of US$90 000.
On November 25, 2021, the trust’s beneficiaries held meeting and instructed Munyengeterwa and Musiiwa to explain the differences in amounts on the two agreements of sale.
Upon realising that their shady deal had been exposed, Munyengeterwa and Musiiwa the trust the full US$90 000, but were still reported to police for fraud.