Agent illegally sells Van Hoogstraten’s property

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HARARE – A convicted estate agent has been arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court for duping a home seeker before selling her a house belonging to British tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten.

Absolom Gambura, 34, who was recently slapped with a five-year prison term after being convicted on a theft of trust property charge, is back in the dock facing a similar charge.

Only a few days after being convicted on his own guilty plea for duping Elias Mutema of $52 210, Gambura is battling another $40 000 swindle.

Harare magistrate Musaiona Shotgame wholly suspended a five-year sentence on condition that Gambura pays back Mutema his money.

On the current charges, Gambura, who is the managing director of Hopewins Real Estate of number 109 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare, allegedly advertised in a local daily a residential property located in Mazowe.

The complainant Kundai Deka, who is a pensioner, responded to the advert, flighted in January last year, before approaching Gambura at his work place.

According to court papers, Gambura told the 68-year-old woman that the property belonged to Van Hoogstraten.

The court heard that Deka later viewed the property and got interested in buying it, before an agreement of sale was drafted.

Gambura allegedly asked Deka to pay $28 550, before Hoogstraten left the country for the United Kingdom.

Deka later paid the remainder in instalments, until a total payment of $40 000 was made.

The offence came to light when Gambura failed to effect transfer of the property into Deka’s name.

It is alleged that Gambura became evasive and Deka reported the matter to the police, leading to his subsequent arrest.

In the Mutema case, Gambura used the same modus operandi, again advertising a Harare property in the newspaper.

Mutema viewed the advertised property in October last year. Gambura told Mutema that he was acting on behalf of Willoughby’s Investments, who were the owners of the property. 

He said the property was for $80 000, an amount which was to be paid within six months.

After receiving the money, Gambura failed to effect transfer of the property, the court heard.

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