Home » Industry » U.S.$600 000 Land Sale Lands TSL Trio in Court

Tobacco Sales Limited bosses have appeared in court facing charges of selling a farm for US$600 000 which they knew had been gazetted by the Government for acquisition under the land reform programme. The TSL bosses are chief executive officer Washington Matsaire (58), former chief executive officer Richard Musvaire (54) and finance director Peter Mujaya (52), who appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Sandra Mpindu yesterday.

Matsaire, Musvaire and Mujaya are out on US$500 bail apiece and trial continues on June 19, with the complainant in the matter being the director of an investment company called Zazu (Private) Limited, Mr Mahomed Ibahim Yakub.

Testifying in court as the first State witness, former Mazowe South legislator Cde Margaret Zinyemba who was allocated the farm by the Government, said she had since appealed against being evicted from the farm, Lot 1 of Lot 1 Manyewe Estates, at the Constitutional Court.

“I was given an offer letter for a farm which I later leant belonged to TSL,” she said. “The lands committee ordered TSL to produce proof of ownership, but they failed.

“I was approached by Aocate Martin Dinha (Minister of State for Mashonaland Central) who offered to allocate me another farm since this one was under a Bilateral Investment Protection (BIPA), a country to country agreement, but nothing materialised.

“On February 20 2012, Aocate Dinha ordered me to go back to the farm since the owners were not cooperating.”

Cde Zinyemba said that the farm was later subdivided after the withdrawal of her offer letter.

Mazowe lands officer Mr Richard Harinangoni said it took time for the farm to be apportioned after TSL bosses lied that it was under a BIPPA between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.

“TSL committed the offence since it is clear that the Government Gazette Extraordinary notice was published making the farm State land and no one contested,” he said.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza alleged that in August 2011 Yakub engaged TSL who were selling their flower growing business in Concession, Mazowe.

Yakub was told that TSL had a subsidiary company called Laxorflor Roses located in Concession which was selling 50 percent of its shares, the court heard.

Yakub was also told by Musvaire that they were leasing farm Lot 1 of Lot 1 Manyewe Estates, Concession in Mazowe were the flower business was being carried out for US$600 000 and US$200 000 of the money was to be paid directly to TSL.

The farm measured 4 646 899 hectares and when the lease agreement was concluded, Yakub was to occupy the land for a period of 23 years from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2036.

On October 17, 2011, Yakub was called by Musvaire informing him that the lease of the farm and the flower business purchase was ready.

It is alleged that Yakub paid the US$600 000 after receiving books and records.

Sometime in February 2012, he was approached by Cde Zinyemba who stated that the land belonged to her.

The court heard that Cde Zinyemba successfully evicted Yakub on the strength of her offer letter.

Source : The Herald