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Police hunt serial real estate fraudster

by Staff reporter
05 Aug 2021 at 06:14hrs | Views
POLICE in Bulawayo have launched a manhunt for a bogus real estate agent who allegedly fleeced members of the public, including the late businessman Ernest Tekere of Home Guard Security Services of about US$200 000.

The suspect is reported to have carried out the scams over a period of four years. Mpumelelo Mhlanga, who is the proprietor of Ihawu Holdings, through an elaborate ploy, allegedly sold property including houses and stands in Bulawayo and Gweru. He has a list of pending cases at various police stations in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the cases, urging members of the public to report Mhlanga to the nearest police station if spotted.

"Police in Bulawayo are looking for one Mpumelelo Mhlanga aged 36 years, whose last known address is 64 Robertson Road, Douglasdale, Bulawayo. He is wanted in connection with several serious cases of fraud and forgery which occurred in Bulawayo metropolitan," said Insp Ncube.

He said in one of the instances, sometime in August 2018 a 41-year-old woman based in the United Arab Emirates, but from Mahatshula North, wanted to purchase a house in Zimbabwe.

"While she was searching for a house in the presence of her husband, they noticed an advert pinned on a notice board at Lobengula Housing Office Hall. They then contacted the liaison, identified as Lisa Maphosa who invited them to offices located at 7 Jason Moyo Street, Bulawayo.

"Maphosa further proposed other properties for sale under their company's name Ihawu Properties. The complainant got interested in a house in Magwegwe suburb, Bulawayo valued at US$26 000. The house belonged to one Marita Siziba who was being represented by her lawyer Nikiwe Ncube of Ncube-Tshabalala Attorneys as she was out of the country," said Insp Ncube.

He said on August 15, 2018 the complainant paid US$24 000 in cash to Mhlanga at their office housed at CIPF building, with the balance set to be paid over a period of two months. "After collection of lease agreement, it cited Nikiwe Ncube as the representative of the seller. This is when Mhlanga requested US$2 800 for change of ownership.

"He was then instructed to collect rentals from the purchased property and other properties to settle the change of ownership fee. After getting the funds Mhlanga became evasive, resulting in the complainant engaging her lawyers.

"It was then discovered that the agreement of sale was fake. The complainant then made a police report," said Insp Ncube, urging members of the public to be cautious when dealing with real estate agents. "Anyone with information that may lead to Mhlanga's arrest should visit any nearest police station for justice to take its course," he said.

A police source said Mhlanga was once arrested in connection with a residential stand in Parklands that belonged to the late Tekere, after he had sold the property to three people. "His con was discovered when the third buyer, one Carrington Maseko, paid US$26 000 for the property, sunk a borehole, got a plan design for US$2 500 and got it approved by council officials. Mhlanga in an affidavit owned up to owing Maseko and promised to pay him back. He also confirmed that Tekere didn't know about the sale," said the police source.

Mhlanga allegedly disappeared when police were conducting investigations. He has a slew of housing fraud cases that include case number BC426/6/18 where he misrepresented to a Qiniso Sibanda that he was selling stand number 768 Emganwini. Mhlanga was allegedly paid US$13 000 and then he started evading Sibanda who opened a case at Bulawayo Central Police Station.

ZRP Khumalo received a case brought by one Mandlenkosi Dube of Luveve 5. Mhlanga was enlisted by the complainant to sell a house for US$19 000. He is said to have converted the money to his own use.

In case number BC478/1/19 Mhlanga sold a house belonging to one Josiah Singende (78) from Montrose for US$49 000 and disappeared. Another case involves a Wellington Makonye (case number BC296/4/21).

Mhlanga misrepresented to Makonye that he was selling a stand for US$18 000 and was paid the funds and vanished. Sheila Mlalazi (67) of Lundi Park in Gweru opened case BC344/6/21. Mhlanga had advertised in the Press that he was selling a residential stand and was given $2,380 million.

Source - chronicle
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