Land scam costs GMB $1m
A MEMBER of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Mr Basilio Sandamu, yesterday appeared in court for allegedly trying to defraud the parastatal of $2,5 million.
GMB is being represented by Mr George Magosvongwe, who is the chairperson of the GMB board of trustees.
Sandamu (64), who is being represented by Mr Norman Mukandagumbo, appeared before magistrate Mr Nyasha Vitorini and asked to pay $500 bail. The matter was remanded to October 16.
Prosecuting, Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that on July 7, 2002 one Korbs Mutandiro, who is being jointly charged with Sandamu and has since appeared in court, fraudulently acquired 51 percent equity in Romany Farm (Pvt) Ltd from the previous owner, David John Sheehan, for ZW $5 million.
The land, through the Land Acquisition Act Chapter 20:10, belonged to the State after it was taken over during the Land Reform Programme in the late 1990s.
On April 30, 2013 Sandamu, acting in connivance with Mutandiro and Taona Munzvandi, the chief executive of GMB Pension Fund, who are already on remand facing similar charges, allegedly hatched a plan to defraud the State entity by entering into a fraudulent agreement to sell the farm to GMB Pension Fund for $2,5 million.
The three did this with the full knowledge that the farm had been acquired by the State. Acting upon the misrepresentation, the GMB Pension Fund transferred $1 070 000 into Organs Resources (Pvt) Ltd’s Standard Chartered Bank account. Mutandiro is the director of the company and signatory to the bank account.
Sandamu connived to sell the farm when he knew that there was no certificate from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement indicating that there was no present interest on the farm, which is a statutory requirement in the disposal of land according to the Land Acquisition Act.
Sandamu’s actions allegedly led to the GMB Pension Fund suffering a potential prejudice of $2,5 million and actual prejudice of $1 070 000 and nothing was recovered.