The trial for a CEO’s assistant at Econet Wireless Pvt Ltd and his wife who reportedly duped two Harare women of US$600 000 in a botched residential stand deal has kicked off at Harare magistrates’ court.
Dereck Zhanje (50) who is also a pastor at Celebration Church in Borrowdale and Faith Zhanje (35) pleaded not guilty to fraud charges when they appeared before Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande.
They argued that the allegations are malicious and are also a result of loss of patience since the two complainants were aware of the conditions concerning the title deeds.
“Failure to pay off the loan does not necessarily mean the properties will be sold, we are engaged with the banks and arrangements to save the complainants’ properties are in place.
“We are in the process of cancelling the bonds from the properties. The allegations are malicious and as a result of loss of patience since they were aware of the conditions to the title deeds.”
The matter was remanded to May 23 for trial continuation.
It is the State’s case that on June 17, 2015, the pair bought a plot held under Deed of Transfer 4486-2015 from Moses Tonderayi and Memory Zhenje. They subsequently divided it into three residential stands measuring 1 600 square metres each.
It is alleged that on July 13, the same year, the two applied for a mortgage bond of $140 000 from NMB Bank and submitted title deeds of the said piece of land as surety. The bank approved the application on the following day. The court heard that the couple offered the same piece of land for sale. It is the State’s case that in August, the same year, Silvern Family Trust represented by Silven Chisewe heard that the couple was selling properties in Harare.
She approached them and Dereck confirmed that they were selling stands for $85 000 each, which Chisewe negotiated down to $80 000. Allegations are that during the process, the two intentionally failed to disclose the existence of the mortgage bond. It is further alleged that on September 1, they compiled an agreement of sale in which they again falsely indicated that the property was free from any mortgage bonds.
On November 20, Chisewe bought the stand through a bank transfer and the couple promised to transfer ownership of the stand into her name and convinced Chisewe to build a structure worth $350 000 on it.
The court further heard that on August 1, 2016, Chisewe bought another stand from the couple for $70 000. When she was about to pay the outstanding balance of $45 000 for the second stand Chisewe engaged Dereck over the issue of changing ownership of the two stands and he disclosed the existence of bonds.
He enticed her into paying the balance on the pretext that he was to use the proceeds to settle the outstanding bonds payments to facilitate the finalization of the conveyance process.
She reportedly paid the balance and later held several meetings with the couple over the ownership transfer but they failed to yield any positive results leading to Chisewe reporting the matter to the police.
The Second complainant in this matter is Nelia Chirombe who made an agreement of sale with the couple on November 10 2014.
It was reported that the agreement of sale stated that the residential stand valued at $90 000 was not under any mortgage bond nor any encumbrance or restrictions were attached to it.
After buying the property the two reportedly did not cooperate to facilitate the transfer of the title deeds into the complainant’s name.
It was reported that on July 2017 Chirombe’s husband proceeded to the Deeds office and noted that there was a CABS mortgage bond registered against four residential stands including theirs.