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Glen Lorne home-seekers fleeced over US$780 000



THIRTEEN home-seekers have lost a combined US$780 000 in a botched land deal which saw a Harare man working with international real estate company Richard Ellis to parcel out residential stands in the plush suburb of Glern Lorne  without full legal title.


The property in question is known as stand 2558 in Glen Lorne measuring 18.2 hectares.
Documents gleaned by The NewsHawks show that one Shingirirai Tapomwa obtained a permit from Harare City Council to subdivide the land into residential stands numbered as stands 2968 to 3308 in line with plan number SD/ER/34/11.

Tapomwa claimed that he acquired the land from employers of his father, Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd, as part of his benefits for working for them over a long period of time.

Richard Ellis Real Estate Company then sold the stands at US$60 000 each to homeseekers after having advertised them publicly.

An agreement of sale signed on the Richard Ellis letterhead document between Tapomwa and one of the duped homeseekers, Gwinyai Family Trust, confirmed the price.

Part of it reads: “The parties have agreed to enter into this agreement and regulate the terms and conditions upon which the property shall be sold to the purchaser. Now therefore, it is agreed as follows… the seller hereby sells to the purchaser the property … thew purchase price for the property shall be the sum of US$60 000 payable to the agent (Richard Ellis)”.

When Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd learnt about the transactions after all the stands had been bought and paid for, the company challenged the transactions in court. The company argued at no point did it give the land to the Tapomwa family for them to sell. The company won the case.

The courts found that the company was the owner and registered title holder of stand 2558 Glen Lorne. In 2014, Supreme Court judge Paddington Garwe found that the late Misheck Tapomwa, whose relationship with Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd was the subject of dispute in the court a quo, was only allowed to build on the stand in question to have some accommodation for himself and his family but not to claim ownership of the whole land as later claimed by his son so that he could sell stands there.

Misheck Tapomwa died in November 2000, and his family continued to reside at the stand in question.

The NewsHawks also found that in October 2008, Shingirirai Tapomwa acting in his capacity as executor of his late father’s estate, filed an application in the magistrates’ court in which he sought and was granted an order declaring the stand in question to be part of the estate of the late Misheck Tapomwa and directing the directors of Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd to sign all necessary papers to effect the transfer of the stand into the name of his late father’s estate, failing which the messenger of court was given authority to sign all such papers.

The basis of the order sought was that Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd had “pledged” the stand in question to the late Misheck Tapomwa “as remuneration and pension”.

Following this development, title in the stand in question was transferred to Tapomwa’s estate.

On discovery that the property had now been transferred to his estate, Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd then filed a court application seeking an order interdicting the sale of the stand in question pending the determination of an application to cancel the registration of the stand in the name of the deceased estate.

The company won  a court case in 2009 presided over by High Court judge Bharat Patel to stop any sale of the land by Tapomwa. Through other successive legal processes the company conclusively managed to get back the land which has now effectively affected the people who later bought the stands unaware of the developments which Richard Ellis ought to have made them aware had it done its due diligence.

In separate interviews, the duped homeseekers all said they want compensation from Richard Ellis (Pvt) Ltd who collected their money on behalf of Tapomwa amid revelations the firm did not hand it over to him.

In a statement to The NewsHawks, the Gwinyai Family Trust which lost US$120 000 after paying for two stands, said it wanted justice in the matter and blamed Richard Ellis for having failed to do due diligence to discover the land did not belong to Tapomwa.

“The remedy we seek is compensation from Richard Ellis because they did not do due diligence on the piece of land that was being sold by Tapomwa. There was already a court interdict that stopped disposal of the stands that were on the so-called sale. Richard Ellis are liable because we purchased the stand from them and paid them. We considered they were a reputable real estate company.”

Richard Ellis (Pvt) Ltd is no longer operating in Zimbabwe amid reports it relocated to the United Kingdom where it is headquartered.

Efforts to get a comment from the company were unsuccessful.

Kashington Jazi, who was the last manager of the company, refused to shed light on the matter.

“These are matters which went to the courts and I cannot comment,” he said.
Dawn Properties, a local real estate company, bought the franchise of Richard Ellis before it relocated.

John Ndere, the current chief executive  officer of Dawn Properties, said he joined the company in 2022, but is not aware of the Glern Lone stands issue. Contacted for comment, Tapomwa agreed that he sold stands, but claimed the land was “stolen from me and I am still fighting at the courts.”

“On several times I have told those people that they must give me time to sort this matter. My land was stolen from me and I am fighting my wars at the courts. I am about to win the case at the courts and I have repeatedly said that after I win the case those who want refunds will be given and those that want to continue to develop their stands can do so.

“How can I be that heartless that I sell things and not deliver? The land is still there and prime as it was with all the whistling trees. So I need time to sort the issue at the courts then we will sit down with the people who bought the stands on the way forward,” he said.

While Tapomwa maintains that he has a case at the courts which he is about to win on the land, The NewsHawks is in possession of a latest High Court order delivered by Justice Maxwell Takuva which ruled that he is not the owner of the land and is interdicted from doing anything on it.

Folly Cornishe (Pvt) Ltd is the applicant while Tapomwa is cited as second respondent and  his late father is the first respondent, the City of Harare is the third respondent while the Registrar of Deeds is the fourth respondent.

Part of the judgment reads: “It is ordered in the interim as follows: Pending the return date of this matter, first, second respondents and or anyone claiming rights and entitlement through them be and are hereby interdicted, restrained and prohibited from alienating, developing, constructing structures upon, disposing of, marketing, advertising, transferring and/or dealing in any other way with the applicant’s immovable property being a certain piece of land situate in the district of Salisbury called stand 2558 Glen Lorne Township measuring 18, 2024 hectares which is held by the applicant under Deed of Transfer (Reg. No 6050/2006 dated 25 August 2006 in any manner to any persona without the applicant’s knowledge, authority and/or specific written consent.

“1st and 2nd respondents be and are hereby ordered to remove and take down all advertisements from all Social Media and online Media platforms of applicant’s immovable property being a certain piece of land situate in the district of Salisbury called stand 2558 Glen Lorne Township measuring 18, 2024 hectares which is held by the applicant under Deed of Transfer (Reg No. 6050/2006) dated 25 August 2006 within 24 hours of the grant of this Interim relief.”

The home-seekers who were duped said if Tapomwa is claiming that he is poised to win the case, the statement might be aimed at duping other home-seekers because the matter was already finalised by the Supreme Court which ruled that he is not the owner of the land in question. 

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