Home » Judicial » Byo Council Official in $90k Land Scam

A BULAWAYO City Council official who prejudiced eighteen home seekers of over $90 000 after he fraudulently sold them residential stands has been nabbed.

Maxwell Sibanda (53), a Human Resource Officer, this week appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze facing three counts of fraud.

Sibanda, who is represented by Kossam Ncube of Kossam Ncube and partners, pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $100 bail.

According to the state, Sibanda allegedly identified idle land within the city whose owners had ceased to pay rates to the city council.

He then reportedly tendered to the local authority a Special Power of Attorney authorising him to sign all documents for the subdivision of a 100 acre plot of Henry Mangizan, valued at $120 000.

The alleged fraudulent document was purported to have been signed by the registered owner of the property Gavin Edwin Hayler based in South Africa.

The court heard that Sibanda engaged a private planner who subdivided the land.

He approached TP Consultants to aertise and sell the stands on his behalf.

A total of 18 stands, each valued at $10 000, were sold between October last year and February this year, with the home seekers forking out amounts ranging between $3000 and $7000.

When the offence was discovered Sibanda failed to produce an original agreement of sale between him and the registered owner of the land, stating that he did not know where it was and only produced a photocopy of the purported agreement of sale.

Further investigations revealed that the Special Power of Attorney which Sibanda claimed to have been awarded was in actual fact fake.

A search by detectives at his residence unearthed a copy of deed of transfer of the land in question and that of another property owned by a Louis Miller.

As a result, Sibanda prejudiced the home seekers of a total of $93 600.

Source : New Zimbabwe