Three Gweru men, formerly employed by a local land developing firm, River Valley Properties were arraigned after they allegedly defrauded the company of $6 000.
Emmanuel Matondoro (41), Brighton Ndlovu (30) and Thabiso Mpofu (28) are accused of illegally selling residential stands and pocketing the money.
They all pleaded not guilty when they appeared before Mr Edwin Machera on Tuesday.
Matondoro, the alleged ring leader who was the company’s housing officer, was denied bail while his accomplices were granted $500 bail each.
Matondoro, a polygamist with three wives, is also set to appear at the Shurugwi courts to answer to a charge of malicious damage to property after he allegedly broke into a locked River Valley Properties house where he is staying with his second wife.
Prosecuting, Mr Bernard Nyoni said the trio sold a stand in Woodlands Park 2 in Gweru to Mr Lazarus Vhengere in May 2018 without authority from the company. The three allegedly lied to the buyer that the residential stand belonged to them.
The court heard that the matter came to light in August 2019 when the company discovered there was a structure built at the stand without its knowledge.
A report was made to the police and investigations revealed that Mr Vhengere had allegedly forged a copy of memorandum of agreement of sale and had fake receipts. The forged receipts were allegedly originated by Mpofu who handed them over to Trymore Muzire who was acting on behalf of Mr Vhengere. Ndhlovu allegedly showed him the stand in Woodlands pretending to be the owner, the court heard.
On May 30, Mpofu allegedly received $6 000 through his bank account from Mutizire who made the transfer on behalf of Mr Vhengere.
Further investigations revealed that Matondoro allegedly originated a manual card and purchase offer form on which he forged Mr Vhengere’s signature, purporting that he paid for the stand in monthly instalments of $75 and $100 while in actual fact Mr Vhengere had made a once off payment of $6 000 for the stand through Muzire.
The court heard that the trio allegedly have other pending cases of fraud after people approached River Valley Properties following their arrest only to discover they had been defrauded using the same modus operandi.