Three in court for using fake housing cooperative to defraud City of Harare of 178 residential stands


HARARE – Three individuals have appeared in court facing charges of fraud after they allegedly used a fake housing cooperative to acquire 178 residential stands from the City of Harare.

The accused, Robert Makwiza (50), Robson Mugwagwa (44), and Patricia Rusike (50), are alleged to have formed a fake cooperative called "Sunungukai Housing Pay Scheme" and used a forged registration certificate to apply for the land.

According to the state's case, presented by prosecutor Rufaro Chonzi, the accused persons allegedly compiled foundational minutes dated 10 November 2021, marking the formation of the Sunungukai Housing Cooperative Limited. They then allegedly procured a forged Certificate of Registration Number 4867, purportedly signed by the Registrar of Cooperatives on 16 March 2012.

The three accused individuals, representing themselves as the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Treasurer of the cooperative, then made an application to the City of Harare on 1 June 2023, seeking formal regularization of the space they had allegedly invaded. They submitted the forged certificate and application letter, along with a site map of the area.

Acting on the misrepresentation, the City of Harare processed the application and layout plan for the fake cooperative, believing it to be a genuine registered entity. The City made council resolutions for the proposed regularization and allocation of the 178 stands.

However, the fraudulent plan was ultimately uncovered through investigations by the Registrar of Cooperatives, which revealed that the cooperative belonging to the three accused was not registered, and the registration certificate was not authentic. 

The court heard that the registration certificate number 4867 actually belongs to another cooperative, "Women In Power Multipurpose Cooperative," which was registered on 16 March 2012.

Magistrate Dennis Mangosi granted the accused $100 bail and scheduled their next court appearance for 2 August 2024.

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