Three former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) top executives are set to lose their upmarket Harare properties which the national broadcaster claims were fraudulently acquired through bank loans using the company name as guarantor.
Former ZBC chief executive officer, Happison Muchechetere, finance general manager Elliot Kasu and former radio head Allan Chiweshe, allegedly bought their personal properties through mortgage guarantees from CBZ Bank against security offered by their employer without the latter’s knowledge.
Through its board chairperson, Gibson Munyoro, ZBC said despite the trio enjoying and staying in their respective properties, they never at any stage paid for the houses hence the corporation is now seeking a declaratur to seize them.
In his founding affidavit filed at the High Court, Munyoro said Muchechetere acquired stand 376 Vainona Township of Vainona measuring 5 149 square meters, and Kasu stand number 90 Philadelphia Township of Philadelphia measuring 6 549 square metres while Chiweshe acquired Lot 16 of Lot C of Borrowdale Estate measuring 3 000 square metres.
According to Munyoro, Muchechetere obtained a bank loan worth $225 441 and Kasu ($273 784) and Chiweshe ($182 577) without approval by the ZBC board.
“None of the first to the third respondents (Muchechetere, Kasu and Chiweshe) paid anything to access the housing loans. Because the investment amount ran out after financing the first to third respondents herein, the fourth beneficiary namely Tazzen Mandizvidza was only availed part of the loan amount and he had a shortfall in the sum of $112 000 which he had to fund,” Munyoro said.
“In addition the applicant incurred bond registration fees, establishment and revenue fees as well as interest coming in all to $599 355…on account of the fact that the applicant has since paid in full for the said properties for which each of the first to third respondents benefitted, there is no factual or legal cause for which they may be entitled to retain the properties which they did not pay for. They would be unjustly enriched at the expense of the applicant.
“The applicant having itself paid in full for the properties which were transferred to each of the respondents and which they benefitted at its expense . . . it seeks an order declaring that it is entitled to recover the properties from each of the first to third respondents and that they be ordered to deliver them through registration of transfer of title in the properties to the applicant.”
The national broadcaster further said, in the alternative it is also seeking an order declaring null and void the process by which ownership was transferred to the trio, saying “the respective properties were obtained by each of the first to third respondents through an illegally or immorally procured scheme”.
According to the court papers, the alleged housing scam was unearthed when the ZBC conducted a forensic audit in 2014 which resulted in the dismissal of the three men.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.