Grace Mugabe threatens minister over cancellation of niece’s title deeds

Grace Mugabe threatens minister over cancellation of niece’s title deeds

Former First Lady Grace Mugabe last week allegedly confronted Local Government minister Winston Chitando over the cancellation of title deeds for an 8003sqm² land bought by her niece Farai Mashonganyika, and demanded that the deeds be restored.

Mashonganyika, a former member of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, allegedly bought the land for US$4000 in Carrick Creagh, Borrowdale, Harare, in 2011. This translates to about 49 cents per square metre.

Mashonganyika has approached the High Court over the cancellation of her title deeds by the minister, and has allegedly roped in her aunt, former First Lady, into the matter.

According to a reliable source, Grace called Chitando on Saturday trying to coerce him to withdraw his opposing affidavit against Mashonganyika’s application against the cancellation of the title deed. The minister cancelled the title deed for Mashonganyika after the property developer advised that it was fraudulently acquired as the cost was far less than the market price of US$20 003.

ln her application at the High Court challenging the cancellation , Mashonganyika cited the Ministry of Local Government as the respondent. She submitted that she purchased the land in 2011 for US$4000.

“l received and purchased land from the respondent through an agreement which was entered into between myself and the respondent being Stand 91 of Carrick Creagh , Borrowdale, Harare ,for which I paid a sum of US$4000 as the purchase price in 2011,” she submitted.

Mashonganyika added: “I subsequently proceeded to pay the purchase price levied by the respondent, and thereafter I was issued with a title deed which was registered under Deed of Transfer Number 5690/2011. I wish to bring the court into confidence and disclose that I also made a payment of US$10 000 to a property development company in 2009 which had misrepresented to me that it had the authority to sell the properties before I was directed to the respondent, to whom I made additional payments to.

“I received notification through the Government Gazette and The Herald which were published on 4th, 11 and 18 of November 2022, that the respondent intended to cancel my title deed and invited me to make representation against the cancellation, to which l made representation through my legal practitioners.”

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Mashonganyika said after that she heard nothing from the Local Government ministry until February 6, 2024, when she was served with a notice advising her that her title deed was cancelled by the minister under case number HC700/24.

However, in the opposing affidavit filed by Chitando on March 13 this year, the minister accused Mashonganyika of not joining the developer Arosume Property Development Pvt Ltd saying they are the ones who can confirm or deny that she paid the development costs. Chitando also submitted that the court could not make a determination without hearing the side of the developer which had not been joined in the application.

“The court cannot make a determination without hearing from the developers. The ministry can only answer to the issue of the intrinsic value. The development fees were to be paid in accordance with the tripartite agreement and the developer would confirm payment of such to this honorable court.

“I therefore pray that the matter be dismissed with costs,” Chitando said in his affidavit.

He added :”The applicant received and purchased stand from the developer Arosume Property Development Pvt Ltd. The ministry, Arosume Property Development Pvt Ltd and Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative had a tripartite agreement for the development of residential stands in Carrick Creagh,Borrowdale, Harare.

“The stand in question does not fall within the commonage list. There is,therefore, an assumption that she might have been a cooperative member or an individual identified by the developer himself.

“It also means that she was, therefore, expected to pay for the development of the area as stipulated in the tripartite agreement. Even if she was a cooperative member or from the developer, the agreement is clear that they ought to pay their fair proportion of development of the area.

“The ministry, however, conducted a valuation exercise for purposes of collecting the intrinsic value cost and it clearly shows that the stand was valued at US$20 003.

“The anpplic alleges that she paid only US$4000 only which was a breach for non- payment of intrinsic value to government,” Chitando submitted.

“The applicant cannot prefer to ignore the fact that the valuation was communicated to all individuals before they have their lease agreements processed. It would be absurd to state that one can buy such an asset without knowing the full purchase price and the terms and conditions related thereto.

“The ministry is not even aware how a whole title deed was processed when the full purchase price was not paid.”

Chitando said the ministry received a request from the developer to cancel the title deed for the land as Mashonganyika had failed to honour her obligation in terms of payment of the development fees.

The Minister said his predecessor July Moyo issued a notice of intention to cancel dated April 5, 2022, and Mashonganyika on April 13 responded to the notice objecting to the cancellation of the deed in which in her response alleges that she got the stand from the commonage list as she was a civil servant among other issues.

Chitando said it should be noted that the stand does not fall within the category on which she relies on. The minister also submitted that Mashonganyika was not honest to say she was not advised of the cancellation of the title deed during the meetings she had with the ministry.

The minister submitted that Mashonganyika’s application has no merit saying the stand in question was not a commonage stand as she alleged.

” She failed to pay the full intrinsic value for the stand as per the valuation report. This non-payment was a gross breach of the contract between her and the ministry. Even if one is to imagine that a stand in Borrowdale measuring 8003 square metres going for USD$4000, it would be a fantasy.

“The only remedy for the applicant is to engage the respondent and make good her payments. The ministry was prejudiced of income from the sale of the stand and cannot lose the much-needed revenue,” Chitando said.

The matter is pending.

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