Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating High Court Sherriff McDuff Madega for suspected criminal abuse of office and the illegal sale of more than 10 properties attached by the courts.
This comes after several people have claimed to have lost houses on account of Madega’s actions.
According to reports, he is accused of working with a cartel of officials in his office, lawyers, auctioneers and officials at the Deeds Office to target people whose properties would have been attached by the courts. At least 10 cases that l involve improper sale of the seized properties have been reported to Zacc.
Some of the complainants are Mr John Amon Chinyanganya who is accusing Madega of selling his Harare house with a fake deed at an auction (under case number HCR 58/07/21), Green Energy Company for illegally authorising the sale of goods and motor vehicle by a public auction (HCR 25/08/2021, Abigail Mutize for unlawfully and corruptly selling their Mabelreign house and changing title deed before full payment (HCR 89/06/2020), Piwayi Chiutsi for fraudulently attaching his property and declaring a local company Baridie Investments as highest bidder but had never participated during the auction (HCR 31/07/ 2021) and Francis Masawi who is accusing Madega for abusing his power to sell his property (HCR 18/05/2020).
Others are Bryn Michael Baxter who is accusing him of conniving with a relative to fraudulently register an estate (HCR 116/09/21), Rufaro Shiri is accusing him of colluding with a company that is not registered (HCR 126/09/21), Tendai Matanga alleged that he won three civil suits which he handed over to Madega who failed to act (HCR 36/10/18), Gunike Makwira who is claiming that his properties were sold without following the procedures (HCR 18/05/21) and Hilton Tserayi who is accusing him of fraudulently auctioning his vehicle worth US$15 000 for US$100.
When contacted for comment, Zacc spokesperson Commissioner Mr John Makamure said he would only be able to provide the details of the developments once provided with the reference numbers of the cases.
However, in June this year, Mr Makamure once confirmed that the anti-graft body was indeed undertaking a probe into Mr Madega’s conduct.
“The matter is under investigation and we will make details available once we have completed the investigations,” he was quoted saying. These developments also come after Bariadie Investments, is still trying to gain ownership of the Highlands property despite having lost in the High Court.
High Court Judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi found that Mr Mashamhanda was the legal owner of the 4 377 square metre property worth over US$230 000 after buying it in 2019 through an auction.
It had been attached from Harare lawyer Mr Puwayi Chiutsi following a wrangle with his former client Mr Elliot Rodgers over US$70 000 trust money.
Justice Chitapi accepted that Mr Mashamhanda bought it through an estate agent and took all the necessary precautions to ensure the title was unencumbered and secure.
Bariadie has made applications through the High Court on several occasions, saying it bought the same property in a 2017 auction through the Sheriff of the High Court and asserts that the Sheriff of Zimbabwe once instructed lawyer Mr Tendai Biti to process the transfer of the property into Bariadie Investments’ name.
The company has also approached the Supreme Court over the same matter to appeal against the High Court judgment.
In one of the cases reported in June also under reference number RR 30/07/19, Mr Madega is accused of selling a Bluffhill house in Harare under CBZ mortgage without transferring the proceeds of the sale to the bank and other beneficiaries.
According to the owner Mr Nobert Njazi, the Sherriff sold the property after misrepresenting to the court that he had failed to locate the original title deed no 71S9/200S.
“He did not advise CBZ Bank of the attachment and sale of my house. He did not check or examine bonds, caveats and encumbrances to the holding deed otherwise he would have noticed the interest of CBZ Bank.”
Mr Njazi argued that by holding a mortgage bond over the property, CBZ Bank had the right and was supposed to be given first preference when the time to pay arrived.
In another case reported to Zacc by then, a complainant said Mr Madega facilitated the sale of his house within a day of processing the deeds, while summons had been sent to a wrong address.
“A property was sold below the evaluation reports from private estate agents. In terms of the law after the sale of the property, the Sheriff is supposed to ask the owner of the property to file an objection to the sale within 15 days before the Sheriff can confirm the sale.
“Instead the Sheriff sent the letter to the property owner’s farm in Shurugwi and yet all other letters were being sent to his lawyers. The owner of this property received this letter a day before the expiry of the window period to file his objection. He was unable to file on time resulting in the house being confirmed sold. The Sheriff then ordered the registrar of deeds to process the title deeds for the new buyer. The deeds were processed within a day.” Newsday