TWO Harare residents lost close to US$120 000 to two suspected fraudsters who sold them non-existent stands.
The accused persons are Pauline Gutsa and Mavis Madzivanzira, who are co-directors of Segimel Investments that is said to be in the business of buying and selling stands.
The pair allegedly sold nine stands to a businesswoman Mrs Farai Chikuwa and one stand to Mr Fortune Rukara, who paid a combined figure of US$119 000.
The victims discovered that they had been duped after verifications with the City of Harare showed that the stands were not on the local authority’s data base.
Madzivanzira has since appeared in court and is already on remand while Gutsa appeared in court yesterday before regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa on fraud charges.
She was granted $30 000 bail and instructed to report once a week to the police and not to interfere with State witnesses.
She is being represented by Mr Gift Nyandoro. Prosecutor Mrs Sheila Mupindu alleged that in September last year, Chikuwa was introduced to Gutsa and Madzivanzira and the pair allegedly misrepresented that they were selling stands in Milton Park, Vinona, Logan Park and Gunhill.
It is alleged they produced Harare City Council site plans for the proposed subdivision of the said stands and acting on the misrepresentation, Chikuwa who is a director of two construction companies decided to buy three stands in Milton Park, which were going for US$15 000 each.
It is the State’s case that she bought six more stands in Vainona and Logan Park valued at US$64 000.
Between October last year and March this year, Chikuwa paid a total of US$97 450 as deposit for the nine stands into the accused’s attorney’s trust account.
Gutsa promised to deliver offer letters but nothing materialised, the court heard. The complainant, it is alleged, later approached the City of Harare to confirm the status of the stands and was told they were non-existent on their data base ,prompting her to report the matter to the police.
Chikuwa is said to have lost US$97 450 and nothing was recovered. On the other count, on June 19 this year, Rukara was looking for a residential stand and he was referred to Gutsa and Madzivanzira who confirmed they had stands for sell.
Rukara settled for a Greendale stand which was being sold for US$35 000 but he negotiated for a reduction to US$20 000 since the stand had no title deeds.
Gutsa and Madzivanzira then approached a lawyer who assisted by drafting an agreement of sale and Rukara deposited US$20 000 into the lawyer’s trust account.
As per their agreement, the complainant was supposed to sign for the release of the funds to Gutsa and Madzivanzira after having been given the deed of cession and offer letter.
However, when Rukara visited Greendale district office, the court heard, he was told it was not a residential stand.
Rukara failed to get his money back as the duo had already taken the money from the trust account and disappeared. ■