Land barons charged in $47k rap

HARARE - Two suspected land barons have been dragged to court after they reportedly fleeced desperate home seekers of $47 000 in a botched residential stands deal.

Itayi Gonhi,48, and 41-year-old Isau Jonah Dangiri appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing allegations of theft of trust property.

They were ordered to deposit $300 bail each, continue residing at their present addresses and report to Glen Norah Police Station once every week.

Gonhi and Dangiri were remanded to January 18, pending finalisation of investigations.

The complainant is Shiri Housing Cooperative represented by Munyaradzi Mavhengere of Riverside Glen View in Harare.

Prosecutor, Sabastian Mutizirwa, alleged that sometime in 2012, Gonhi formed Shiri Housing Cooperative and he was the chairman while Dangiri took the secretary position.

The agreement was that each member would pay $50 for subscriptions and $5 as administration fees monthly from August 2012.

It was alleged that Gonhi opened a Kingdom Bank account for the cooperative.

The complainants began depositing money into the bank account although the cooperative did not have any land by that time.

It was alleged that sometime in February last year, Kingdom was closed due to liquidity problems and Mavhengere decided to check the balance in the account.

The court heard that Mavhengere discovered that there was only $4 533,50 as the outstanding balance.

It was further alleged that Mavhengere realised that cooperative members had contributed more money than what reflected in the bank account.

He reportedly informed other cooperative members before agreeing to have the account audited.

The audit revealed that Gonhi and Dangiri had withdrawn $47 250 from the cooperative bank account and allegedly used it for personal gains.

According to court records, the complainants suffered an actual prejudice of $47 250 and nothing was recovered.

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