Businessman Arrested Over 50,000 Fraud
28 March 2024
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In a dramatic turn of events, Elliot Mharadze, a 42-year-old businessman from Bulawayo’s Malindela suburb, faced the legal consequences of his long-standing evasion from justice. The director of Exceed Construction made a court appearance before Bulawayo Magistrate Mr. Joseph Mabeza on charges of defrauding 19 individuals out of more than $50,000 through deceptive housing deals. The court session held yesterday has reignited discussions on the prevalence of fraud in the real estate sector.

Mharadze, who had been eluding capture for five years, is now facing 10 counts of fraud, and has been remanded in custody awaiting a bail hearing today. “This case is a stark reminder of the vigilance needed when entering into property deals,” stated Prosecutor Ms. Siphiwe Mhlanga, outlining the deceptive practices Mharadze employed to swindle his victims.

The court was captivated as Ms. Mhlanga recounted the ordeal of Mr. Butholezwe Dube, who in 2018, paid a $13,000 deposit for a home that never materialized. Dube’s subsequent discovery that the stand had been sold under another name highlighted the systematic approach Mharadze used to defraud his clients.

From selling non-existent stands to promising homes in suburbs across Bulawayo, Mharadze’s fraud spanned a wide net, ultimately embezzling $47,925 and R953,000 from his victims. “Each account of fraud not only represents financial loss but also shattered dreams of homeownership,” Ms. Mhlanga added, emphasizing the impact of Mharadze’s actions.

Mharadze’s legal representation, Mr. Goodluck Katanaire from Mutuso, Taruvinga, and Mhiribidi Attorneys, faces the challenging task of defending against the weighty allegations of deceit and betrayal of trust.

In a related development, Patricia Mutanowa, a 33-year-old woman based in Harare, appeared before the same magistrate facing charges of theft of trust funds. Accused of masquerading as an administrator for the non-government organization Esteemed Business Women Zimbabwe, Mutanowa allegedly defrauded numerous individuals of $1,862 through deceptive event organizing schemes.

As these cases unfold, they serve as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls within Zimbabwe’s property and charity sectors, underscoring the need for due diligence and transparency in all transactions.-state media