Bogus Estate Agents Face Charges Over US$198,000 Fraud


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DT Correspondent

Two individuals posing as real estate agents appeared in court yesterday, facing charges of defrauding a home seeker of a staggering US$198,000.

Michael Makata, aged 47, and Wonder Sande, aged 67, appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi, where they were charged with fraud.

Makata is being represented by lawyer Mr Rungano Mahuni.

The court proceedings were adjourned until February 27, as the State consented to a US$500 bail for the accused.

The prosecution, led by Mr Rufaro Chonzi, alleged that between January 2023 and April 2023, Makata and Sande conspired to defraud the complainant, Amos Mupuri.

According to the prosecution’s account, Makata approached Sande with an offer to sell a residential stand in Pomona, Borrowdale.

Makata suggested that the stand could be registered in Sande’s name to facilitate their fraudulent activities targeting Mupuri.

The State further alleged that Sande agreed to the plan, leading Makata to fabricate a fraudulent deed of transfer, bearing registration number 5087/2018 and dated September 11, 2018, in Sande’s name.

This fraudulent document was then presented to Mupuri as proof of ownership.

As a result of the duo’s deceit, Mupuri made instalment payments totalling US$95,000 towards the purchase of stand number 570 in Pomona, Borrowdale, Harare.

The court heard that Makata and Sande frequently visited Mupuri to collect cash payments. To conceal their fraudulent activities, the pair convinced Mupuri to engage their legal practitioner for conveyance services, for which he paid an additional US$5,600.

Subsequently, a fraudulent deed of transfer with the registration number 2848/2023 was issued.

However, Mupuri discovered the scam when he encountered someone claiming ownership of the residential stand he had purchased from Makata.

Suspecting foul play, Mupuri sought verification of the authenticity of the deed of transfer, number 2848/2023, only to find that it was counterfeit.

On January 21, 2024, Mupuri encountered Makata and Sande and promptly alerted the police, resulting in the arrest of the fraudulent duo. Unfortunately, Mupuri suffered an actual loss of US$100,600, and no funds have been recovered thus far.

In a separate count, the prosecution revealed that between June 2023 and November 2023, Makata and Sande, along with unidentified accomplices who remain at large, employed a similar scheme to defraud Mupuri of an additional US$98,000.

The pair falsely claimed to possess a residential stand located at number 571 in Pomona, Borrowdale, Harare.

In this instance, the duo registered the stand under an accomplice’s name, who is currently evading arrest. They proceeded to obtain a fraudulent deed of transfer, numbered 870/2018 and dated September 11, 2018.

Allegedly, Mupuri paid US$84,800 towards the purchase of stand number 571 in Pomona, Borrowdale, Harare, falling victim to the fraudulent misrepresentation.

To cover their tracks, Makata and Sande persuaded Mupuri to utilize their chosen legal practitioner for conveyance services, for which he paid an additional US$2,000. Consequently, a deed of transfer numbered 6020/2023 was issued.

The scam unravelled when Mupuri discovered that someone else was claiming ownership of the residential stand he believed he had acquired.

Upon seeking verification of the authenticity of the deed of transfer number 6020/2023, Mupuri was once again confronted with a counterfeit document.

The accused individuals now face charges related to the fraudulent sale of two stands and the production of fake deeds of transfer.

The court proceedings will resume next month, while Mupuri continues to grapple with substantial financial losses resulting from the alleged deceit.

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