110 families face eviction

HARARE - Over 110 families residing at Stoneridge Farm risk having their homes demolished, after the owner of the property Mohamed Sabir Patel approached the High Court seeking an eviction.

Patel claims that the land was illegally sold to desperate home-seekers, by Elijah Sibanda and Mbingwani Mbingwani, who are now subjects of criminal litigation at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

According to court papers, Sibanda is the chairperson of Moven Mahachi Housing cooperative, while his colleague Mbingwani is accused of forging an offer letter purporting it had originated from the Local Government ministry.

The court heard that Sibanda and Mbingwani reportedly used the forged documents to develop the land into residential stands, yet the property, subdivision E of Apsley of subdivision A, Stoneridge, is owned by Patel’s company Honeybags.

The offence came to light after Patel discovered that there were some people who had settled on his land.

Patel later approached the two, who went on to produce a fake offer letter. The Local Government ministry distanced itself from the offer letter, leading to the duo’s arrest.

Patel reportedly lost over $800 000 and the matter is still to be finalised before the courts.

In his affidavit, Patel said he bought the property from Hanif Ismail in 2011 and is in possession of a deed of transfer following the transaction.

“Since I bought the said property, the accused person (Mbingwani) barred us from the said piece of land threatening to assault me and my family and on another occasion he threatened to kill me,” he said, adding that he reported the case to the police on several occasions but nothing has been done.

According to Patel, Mbingwani claims to have the backing of some ministers and war veterans.

At one point, Patel attempted to regularise the sale of the property to the residents by allowing the occupants to make contributions and pay towards the purchase price through Hello Brothers, a property developing company, however, out of the agreed over $800 000, only $30 000 was paid.

Ismail, who sold the property to him, has also written a letter to the police clarifying the circumstances surrounding the property. He said Mbingwani is his former gardener, whom he fired in 2004 on theft accusations.

He said he later left Zimbabwe in 2005 for Australia. He claimed that Mbingwani took advantage of his absence and occupied the property using fake documents, alleging that he had not been paid his salary when he was fired.

Ismail further said that he did not owe Mbingwani any money.

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