No reprieve for Gutu widow

THE High Court has dismissed the application by Gutu Local Government district coordinator Makepeace Muzenda to have the case in which she is facing estate fraud charges thrown out.

Muzenda stands accused of transferring Kudakwashe Mutongi’s property into her name in an inside job in connivance with Gutu Rural District Council officials who helped facilitate fake documents giving her entitlement to the property.

Muzenda is facing charges of fraudulently changing her late husband Mutongi’s property into her name to gain an unfair advantage over the other woman in the polygamous relationship. The fake documents were obtained through fraudulent means in order to convince the executor not to include the property on the list for equitable distribution with the other woman in the union as well as the children.

Mutongi, according to the court papers, died in early 2000 but the property was listed in his name in the inventory that is with the Master of High Court, according to the executor, Freddy Chimbari who is the applicant in this matter.

Muzenda  is cited as the first respondent while the Gutu Rural District Council chief executive officer and the Master of the High Court are second and third respondents respectively.

High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu dismissed Muzenda’s application with no costs.

“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the applications for absolution from the instance are dismissed. There is no order as to costs,” read the court papers.

In her submissions to the court, Muzenda alleges that she approached the chief executive of GRDC in 2004 with a request to be allocated commercial land before she was subsequently allocated the same property under dispute the same year.

“In 2005, following a council resolution, the second defendant then allocated Stand No. 414 Gutu, Mupandawana, to the first defendant in her capacity as head of department within her ministry. Thereafter, the first defendant started to make her payments to the second defendant,” submitted Muzenda.

She, however, cannot locate her receipts.The Gutu Rural District Council chief executive officer in his application for absolution pleaded with the court not to take the applicant seriously.

“There is, therefore, no proof that anything was paid towards the purported purchase price for the property. In fact the second witness during cross examination by the second defendant that there is no evidence that shows that the deceased fulfilled all his obligations in terms of the purported lease to buy agreement thereby entitling him ownership of the property,” submitted GRDC chief executive.

Chimbari wants the purported lease agreement obtained by Muzenda from GRDC cancelled because it was obtained illegally.

“The late Kudakwashe Mutongi was a holder of certain lease rights with an option to buy stand number 414 Gutu. The property is a commercial property which is a partly developed commercial stand. The property was registered in the name of Mutongi during his lifetime. The property is listed in the inventory filed with the Master of High Court as property which belongs to the late…the inventory was duly signed by the first defendant (Muzenda),” submitted Chimbari.

 “Sometime in 2009, the first defendant in connivance with the officials at Gutu Rural District Council caused the property to be transferred from the Estate of the late…to the first defendant without following the due process of the law. The distribution account has not been drawn and neither was the estate wound up. Further, the first and second defendants have not sought the consent of the third defendant to transfer the property.

 “The property was acquired by the first defendant for no consideration. The property has since been transferred into the first defendant’s name and as it stands the defendant is the registered owner of the estate property. Stand number 414 Gutu should be declared to be the property of the late…and is liable for distribution to the beneficiaries of the late…the lease agreement between first and second defendants should be cancelled for they were fraudulently obtained.”