Patient Sibanda Chronicle Reporter—
SIXTEEN people in Bulawayo lost more than $230,000 to a land baron in a stands scam that saw some individuals being swindled of up to $15,000 each in the fake housing development project. Police have since issued a second appeal, in less than six months, for information which may assist in the arrest of city businessman Munyaradzi Mazenge, a Director at Net Seven Real Estate.
In August last year, police said they were looking for Mazenge for allegedly defrauding five people of nearly $90,000 after selling them stands on land that did not belong to him.
In the latest appeal, police said the number of people who lost huge sums of money to Mazenge had risen to 16 and the land baron had unlawfully pocketed $232, 842 in total.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said Mazenge subdivided plot 12 in Willsgrove without the permission of the owner of the land and sold stands to different people.
“We appeal to members of the public for information that may assist in the location and subsequent arrest of Munyaradzi Mazenge NR: 45-123702Z-73 who is wanted in connection with a case of fraud which occurred in June last year,” said Insp Simango.
“The accused person is a Director of Net Seven Agencies private limited company. He made subdivisions of plot 12 Willsgrove Bulawayo without the permission of the owner and sold it to different people. He attached a fake subdivision permit number SDC 05/2015 as if the land was owned by his company and gave it to buyers as if the plan was approved.”
She said Mazenge issued receipts to his clients and made them pay money in instalments of up to six months after promising them that the servicing of the land would be done within a year.
“As a result of his actions, he prejudiced about 16 people of $232, 842. Efforts to locate him have been fruitless hence the appeal to anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the officer in charge CID frauds Detective Inspector Alford Nyasha on cell phone number 0774 982787 or on landline 09-78615, or toll free 110 or any nearest police station,” said Insp Simango.
The search for Mazenge comes at a time when the government has announced that it has stopped allocating land to developers and housing co-operatives with immediate effect. All servicing and housing development on State land will be done by the Urban Development Corporation.
The government has also said housing co-operative leaders and some developers who were abusing members’ funds would be arrested as authorities move to restore order in the housing development sector now dominated by land barons.
The move comes at a time when some desperate home-seekers have been religiously paying subscriptions with no notable development taking place on the ground while in other cases people have been made to pay for non-existent land.