Businessmen swindled of US$2m

Zimbabwe

Stanford Chiwanga

A BULAWAYO businessman, who is facing charges of defrauding a land seeker of US$1,4 million in a botched property deal, has landed in more trouble after it emerged that he allegedly swindled other victims to bring his ill-gotten gains to close to US$2 million. 

Ismail Moosa Lunat, who is being tried in Harare and is out on $5 000 bail, allegedly sold the land that he had already sold to someone else three years ago for US$1,4 million to Mr Mohamed Patel, a Bulawayo businessman. 

According to the documents signed, Lunat stated that he was selling the property on behalf of one of his companies called Converging Investments (Pvt) Limited. It is alleged that Lunat showed Mr Patel an original copy of the title deeds and CR14 Forms before the agreement was signed. Upon signing the agreement, Mr Patel made a down payment of US$1 million. 

Lunat allegedly advised Mr Patel that he should settle the balance of US$400,000 on or before December 15, 2018. Mr Patel paid the balance on December 14, 2018 before being given the original copy of the title deeds to the property. A follow-up with the Registrar of Deeds revealed that the property was in fact, registered in the name of Mr Timothy Mafuka Nkomo. Mr Nkomo had purchased the said property from Lunat in 2015.

The State’s case against Lunat, also a bookkeeper and accountant, seems to be a ‘tip of the iceberg’ as investigations revealed an alleged scam that goes beyond Bulawayo. He is alleged to have struck a number of business deals with various businessmen, but failed to honour his obligations after receiving payment. 

In a matter not related to the court case, Lunat was some time last year allegedly given a loan of US$384 177 by the same Mr Patel. Lunat was also made to sign an acknowledgement of debt document but Mr Patel has not received any of that money back. The matter is at the Bulawayo High Court. Contacted for comment Mr Patel refused to comment.