Another council official arrested over stands scam

by Shingirai Huni | Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 | 2949 views

Dumani Moyo and Mncedisi Buhali Sunday News Reporters
ANOTHER Bulawayo City Council official has been arrested for fraudulently selling residential stands after subdividing a piece of land which he sold to 18 desperate home seekers for $10 000 each.

Maxwell Sibanda (53), the council’s human resources officer, sometime last year unlawfully took possession of a 100-acre plot belonging to Gavin Edwin Hayler who was no longer paying rates to council.

The plot is valued at $120 000.

Working on the assumption that Hayler was either deceased or had relocated to another country, Sibanda hatched a plan to gain ownership of the land.

He approached different consultants and engaged them to advertise the land which was sold to 18 people on his behalf.

This development comes after last month’s edition of the Sunday News which exposed an alleged scam within the council’s housing and community services department and the arrest of Njabulo Sibanda, a council intern in the department, who defrauded a home seeker of R25 000.

Sibanda appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mrs Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze on Wednesday and was charged with fraud as defined by Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9.23 and contravening Section 39 (1) (a) of the regional, town and country planning Act Chapter 29:12, “subdivide any property without a permit”.

It is the State’s case as presented by the prosecutor, Mr Denmore Kasenza, that sometime during the month of November 2014, Sibanda tendered to the Bulawayo City Council a special power of attorney authorising him to sign all documents necessary for the subdivision of the remaining extent of the 100-acre plot in Bulawayo.

Mr Kasenza said the special power of attorney was purportedly signed on 14 November 2014 in Kempton Park, South Africa, by the registered owner of the property, Gavin Edwin Hayler, before a notary public, J. Mazibuko of Wentzel and Partners attorneys.

He said in October 2014, the accused person engaged a private planner or surveyor who then subdivided the remaining extent of 100 acre lot of Henry Mangizan into residential stands.

“He then sold these stands to 18 people, without a permit from the Bulawayo City Council,” said the prosecutor.

Sibanda was remanded to 27 February on $100 bail.

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