In­her­i­tance scam un­cov­ered

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Harare Bureau

GRAB­BING a late brother’s es­tate and ex­clud­ing the de­ceased’s mi­nor sur­viv­ing daugh­ter from prop­erty dis­tri­bu­tion, has back­fired on a Mutare fam­ily af­ter the now en­light­ened sole child filed an ap­pli­ca­tion claim­ing back the looted as­sets 16 years af­ter her fa­ther’s death.

The prac­tice is com­mon in African cul­ture and many or­phans and wid­ows have fallen vic­tim to the loot­ing of es­tates by greedy close rel­a­tives.

Ms Tereziah Melisa Mukudu (21), lost her fa­ther Mr Lazarus Mukudu in 2000 when she was five years old.

Her late fa­ther’s sib­lings took ad­van­tage of her age and reg­is­tered the es­tate with­out her knowl­edge.

The woman’s mother, Ms Beatrice Mang­wiro, also died in 2003.

The es­tate that in­cluded a Mutare house and cash was dis­trib­uted among the mem­bers of the Mukudu fam­ily to her ex­clu­sion.

The Mukudu fam­ily mem­bers ar­gued that the house be­longed to their late fa­ther and it was only reg­is­tered in the name of the late Lazarus Mukudu for con­ve­nience since he was the youngest in the fam­ily.

How­ever, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Ms Mukudu (the de­ceased’s daugh­ter) shows that the prop­erty was bought by her late fa­ther (Lazarus) from a Mutare cou­ple cited as Thomas and Bekezela Mu­tara in 1993.

The own­er­ship his­tory does not show any other mem­ber of the Mukudu fam­ily other than the late Lazarus.

To that end, Ms Mukudu has taken her late fa­ther’s sib­lings to the High Court in a test case that is likely to ben­e­fit sev­eral vic­tims of prop­erty grab­bing of that na­ture.

In the sum­mons filed at the High Court on Wed­nes­day, Ms Mukudu listed Gor­don Mukudu, Ge­orge Mukudu, Ce­cilia Chibuba and Sylvia Tereka as de­fen­dants.

The Master of High Court was also cited as a de­fen­dant in his of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity in the sum­mons filed by Mu­tun­gura and Part­ners.

In her dec­la­ra­tion, Ms Mukudu stated that she was the only sur­viv­ing child of the late Mr Lazarus Mukudu and Ms Mang­wiro.

Ac­cord­ing to the dec­la­ra­tion, Ms Mukudu was born on Oc­to­ber 19, 1995 and was the only child in that fam­ily.

At the time of her fa­ther’s death, the es­tate had var­i­ous im­mov­able and mov­able prop­er­ties that were shared among the fa­ther’s sib­lings.

Ms Mukudu got the shock of her life on Fe­bru­ary 23 this year when she went to Mutare mag­is­trate’s Court to reg­is­ter her late fa­ther’s es­tate.

An edict meet­ing was called on May 20 this year and that is when she learnt that the es­tate had since been reg­is­tered with­out her knowl­edge and that the prop­erty had been dis­trib­uted.

She dis­cov­ered that her late un­cle called Martin had reg­is­tered the es­tate and shared the prop­erty and the $44 977 with the other sib­lings to her ex­clu­sion.

The sib­lings are re­ceiv­ing monthly rentals from the prop­erty, Stand Num­ber 3588 Um­tali Town­ship, Mutare.

In the High Court case, Ms Mukudu is seek­ing an or­der declar­ing her as the sole sur­viv­ing child of the late Lazarus who is en­ti­tled to ben­e­fit from the es­tate.

She is seek­ing to nul­lify the fi­nal dis­tri­bu­tion of the es­tate that dis­in­her­ited her.

Ms Mukudu is also seek­ing an or­der di­rect­ing the Master of the High Court to amend the fi­nal liq­ui­da­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion ac­count of the es­tate by in­clud­ing her as a ben­e­fi­ciary.

The Mukudu sib­lings were still to file their re­sponses ahead of a pre-trial con­fer­ence.

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