Fuel challenges currently being experienced in the country are now affecting the justice delivery system after an accused in a US$1,4 million fraud case could not be brought to Harare from Bulawayo because Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services vehicles did not have fuel.
This was revealed in the case in which Hosea Mkwananzi representing Converging Investments, Ismail Moosa Lunat and Mahomed Iqbal Lunat allegedly swindled USD$1,4 million from a business colleague in a botched property deal.
The case was supposed to be heard before Harare Magistrate Morgan Nemadire, when lawyer Nqobani Sithole revealed that Ismail Lunat was at Bulawayo’s Khami Prison where he was locked up for another case but ZPCS had failed to bring him to Harare.
“Accused 2 (Ismail Lunat) is currently held at Khami Prison in Bulawayo over a 2018 case but prisons did not bring him to Harare because they don’t fuel.
“However accused 2 and 3 have concerns because of these days, delays which are being caused by the State. There is a court order that the accused should be brought to Harare.
“Whether there is fuel or no fuel, court orders should be followed,” submitted Sithole.
In response, prosecutor George Manokore said challenges of fuel are public knowledge hence could not be blamed on the State.
“This fuel issue is not our own making because it is well known that issue of fuel is a national issue, it is affecting individuals, companies and even ministries are also affected,” said Manokore.
Magistrate Nemadire ruled that the case should continue tomorrow and the State should put its house in order so that the case continues.
The complainant in the matter is Toppers Uniforms represented by Mahomed Zakariya Patel.
It is said Patel is a close associate of the the two Lunats and that his (Patel) sister is married to the two’s brother’s son.
Allegations are that sometime in August last year, Moosa Lunat approached Patel saying that he was selling one of Mkwananzi’s properties in Bulawayo for USD$1,5 million.
It is the State’s case that Moosa Lunat said the property was developed with a two story building.
Indications are that Moosa Lunat invited Patel to Bulawayo to view the property and he viewed it, before he (Patel) asked for a discount. It is alleged that Moosa Lunat reduced the price to USD$1,4 million and an agreement was reached.
On September 4 last year, it is said a written agreement was signed but in all of this, it is alleged Patel thought all was in order.
Patel is alleged to have been given some title deeds which were said to be originals not knowing they were fake. The said property is alleged to have been sold to Timothy Mafuka Nkomo in 2005 by Iqbal Lunati represented by Moosa Lunat.
Thinking that everything was above board, it is said Patel paid USD$1million to Moosa Lunat in Bulawayo and the latter signed for the money.
On November 25 last year, it is said Moosa Lunat approached Patel seeking balance of USD$400 000 and the latter paid the money.
In further pursuant to the fraudulent act, it is said Moosa Lunat had the property revalued to USD$2,2 million and he asked Patel to top up on the initial amount he had paid.
Patel is alleged to have denied the top up.
It is the State’s case that Patel started asking for the deed of transfer but Moosa Lunat became evasive.
Iqbal Lunat is said to have been roped into the deal and it is said he alleged that he had been sent by Moosa Lunat to demand the said original deed of transfer. It is alleged Iqbal Lunat further told Patel that the said property had not been sold and that Moosa was never Mkwananzi’ director hence he could not sell the property.
When Patel made further inquiries he discovered that the documentation he had been shown for the property was all fake and he had lost USD$1,4 million and nothing was recovered.