HomePolitics‘Loan shark’ Buyanga accusers make U-turn

‘Loan shark’ Buyanga accusers make U-turn

SOME of the over 50 people who accused Harare businessman Frank Buyanga of fraudulently seizing their immovable properties through a controversial loan scheme have made a U-turn, saying they had instead sold their houses and stands to the property mogul.

It has also emerged that some of the complainants had lost or withdrawn their cases against the businessman in the High Court.
Documents and videos in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that the people sold the properties to subsidiaries of Buyanga’s Hamilton Property Holdings –– not that they received loans from the businessman who has been accused of being a loan shark.
Buyanga was accused last month of cheating 500 homeowners out of their properties through a loan scheme where the borrower would sign an agreement of sale and pay the principal loan and interest within three months.
Failure to repay the loan, it was alleged, would result in the forfeiture of the immovable property and subsequent transfer into Buyanga’s companies.
Affidavits at hand allege that a Harare woman –– Fiona Jirira –– had conspired with people who had sold their houses to Buyanga and resolved to raise false allegations of fraud against the 31-year-old businessman.
In June, Jirira lost a case in the High Court against one of Buyanga’s companies –– ZIMCOR Trustees Ltd –– when she wanted to overturn an agreement of sale she had entered with the company after selling her property to it for US$15 000.
There are at least 53 people, among them cabinet ministers from both political divides, prominent businesspeople and top musicians, who signed agreements of sale with Buyanga’s companies, but are now refusing to pay him back the money they received.
Buyanga reportedly sunk US$10 million in the economy through buying properties at a time of a steep liquidity crunch.
Talkmore Kwaramba of Waterfalls, in a sworn affidavit dated August 24, denied having entered into a loan agreement with Hamilton Property Holdings, but confirmed having voluntarily entered an agreement of sale with the company.
Kwaramba said he had snubbed a meeting convened by Jirira in March in Milton Park to “drum up complaints” against Buyanga’s firm.
He wrote: “On the 29th of September 2009, I entered into an agreement with Hamilton Property Holdings Ltd. In terms of this agreement I sold my property, 4452/220 Montgomery Drive, Prospect, Waterfalls, Harare, to Hamilton Property Holdings Ltd for the sum of $15 000.
“I confirm that in or around March 2010, I was called by one Fiona Jirira asking me to come for a meeting in Milton Park. The agenda of the meeting was to drum-up complaints against Hamilton Property Holdings Ltd, its subsidiaries and Frank Buyanga Sadiqi, through alleging that this company was selling/taking over people’s property without their consent.”
Kwaramba was categorical that he sold his house to Buyanga’s firm.
“I wish to clarify that my transaction with Hamilton Property Holdings or Frank Buyanga was an outright agreement of sale and nothing else and that my property was not at anytime taken over or sold without my consent,” he said. “I therefore did not attend this meeting because its agenda was based on falsehood.”
Another homeowner, Beauty Chabvonga, also claimed that she had sold her property in Chadcombe for $15 000 and was also called by Jarira to attend a meeting in Milton Park to pin down whom she accused of swindling scores of desperate borrowers of their properties.
“I confirm that I went to Milton Park and spoke to Fiona Jirira,” said Chabvonga in her affidavit dated August 23. “They showed me a list of names with corresponding phone numbers. I then asked Fiona who had given my details, but she did not say…I therefore left the meeting because its agenda was not clear and based on falsehood.”
The High Court recently dismissed a case filed against Buyanga by Margaret Marume (1909/10) and Todd Muguza (2606/09), while Marume (1824/10); and Synodia Chaya (6266/09) withdrew their actions. Chawaona Kanoti’s case (2529/10) was settled.
Besides the affidavits and court documents, the Independent has footage of some of the homeowners  signing agreements of sale. The homeowners were advised that they were being filmed while signing the agreements and consented.
Among those captured on video were Wilton Musanhi, Tsitsi Chitagu, Irine Mahlanze, Charles Dzvairo, Pearce Ferera, Theodora Madzimbamuto, Chris Msipa, Farai Katso and Elizabeth Katso, Cyprian Musarurwa, Edwell Makomeya, Douglas Munzvengi, Jealousy Sibanda, Richard Ncube and Jirira.
Others are Tendai Mupfurutsa, Vimbai Chidavaenzi, Marcelline Chinamora, Stephen Nyoka, Nyamayevu Makombe, David Mwaruta, Godwin Munyama and Elias Sawari, Theodora Madzimbamuto, Chris Msipa, Farai Katso and Elizabeth Katso, Irene Ndamba, Cyprian Musarurwa, Edwell Makomeya, Douglas Munzvengi, Jealousy Clever Sibanda and Richard Zibusiso Ncube.
Efforts to get a comment from Buyanga over the past two weeks were unsuccessful as he is abroad, but an official at his office who asked for anonymity said the complainants had “intentionally confused Hamilton Finance and Hamilton Property Holdings Ltd so as to prove a case of illegal landing” against the businessman.
“Hamilton Property Holdings has always been in the business of buying property and has no link to Hamilton Finance as reported in the media,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Hamilton property lawyers and the complainants, with the assistance of the Attorney-General (AG), last month reached a settlement.
Buyanga’s lawyer, Farai Mutamangira, on Wednesday said: “We are still finalising the settlement agreement.”
Sources at the AG said the complainants had agreed to pay back Buyanga in the “context of cancellation of the agreements of sale”.
The complainants’ lawyer, a Mr Harvey of Granger & Harvey legal practitioners, on Wednesday refused to comment and referred the Independent to Mutamangira. Police last month said they were probing Buyanga, though his lawyers insisted the matter was civil, not criminal.

 

Bernard Mpofu

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