Realtor Highrise faces fraud rap

HARARE - A local property consultancy, Highrise Real Estate (Private) Limited (Highrise), is facing a $120 000-plus lawsuit after failing to deliver a garden flat for six years to a 67-year-old pensioner, Linah Agere it has emerged.

While the former United Kingdom (UK)-based nurse first initiated steps or arrangements to acquire the property through Joseph Sagonda’s companies in 2007, she has been sent on a merry-go-round ever since and despite promises of an alternative house in Mabelreign.

“…plaintiff working in England at the time responded to the marketing strategy of defendants (Tall Spring Investments P/L, Sagonda and Highrise Distributors), who purported to be developing garden flats in Hatfield,” Agere’s lawyers Gwati and Partners said in recent summons, adding their client had fully paid for her apartment “to the defendants who operate as a single term”.

“In breach of the contractual obligations, defendants acting without the knowledge of the plaintiff sold this two-bedroomed garden flat… yet they continued to receive the monthly instalments from the plaintiff,” they said.

Despite promising her alternative accommodation in Meyrick Park, Harare and committing to pay her monthly $700 rentals backdated to November 2011, nothing has materialised.

And as things stand, Agere is suing Highrise and its associate companies for the delivery of her house or alternative valued at $80 000, an additional $25 000 for anxiety and inconveniences as well as rental reimbursements since returning to Zimbabwe nearly four years ago.

On top of that, the distressed woman and retiree wants a five percent per annum interest on any sum or amount of damages awarded to her against the real estate agency and its related entities.

“The defendants have failed or neglected to honour their written commitment… to provide plaintiff with a finished two-bedroomed garden flat by the end of July 2012, and to provide her with the garden flat or interim accommodation,” the lawyers said.

“Second defendant (Sagonda) is acting fraudulently to the benefit of all the defendants… and… are liable to the plaintiff for the breach of the memorandum of agreement… entered into between the parties,” they added.

Even though, Agere has approached the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe, she has had no joy after simply being told that the body or industry regulator “could not do anything since the matter was now before the courts”.

Apart from promising her rentals and occupation of the Mabelreign house — which was at window level when Agere viewed it in November 2011 — Highrise has also failed to furnish her with transfer papers for the property and as promised after court arbitration.

As it is, the High Court has ordered Sagonda’s company to deliver her rental dues by mid-February and ensure that the property is in her hands by April this year.

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