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Woman battles bank over house

By Harriet Chikandiwa

A Harare woman is on the verge of losing her upmarket house to a local commercial bank amid claims legal processes were abused in the bid to seize the property.

Eva Muzuva has since appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene after she was given up to December 31 to pay back money borrowed from FBC Bank by one of her relatives.

Muzuva used her house in Harare’s Mt Pleasant suburb to guarantee a loan taken by Duncan Mukondiwa of Dunleth Enterprises way back in 2010.

Mukondiwa says he fell sick while in the United States and his business back home suffered due to neglect to a point that he could not service the loan.

Muzuva approached the courts to try and save the house after FBC moved in to claim it, but lost the cases up to the Supreme Court. She believes that FBC Bank, however, did not play according to the rules.

In September 2013, Muzuva was taken to court over the guarantee that she signed after Mukondiwa failed to service the loan and FBC wanted to sell her property to offset the loan as standard practice.

She believes what followed the court process “was unfair and grossly inhuman”.

The matter was heard by Justice Happias Zhou and she argued through lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa that the bank could not sell her property because the $150 000 limited guarantee had been serviced.

Mukondiwa testified that Muzuva had signed up for a $150 000 guarantee.

The bank, however, insisted the guarantee was unlimited and was signed before two bank officials, a claim denied by the woman.

Mtetwa asked FBC to present bank statements to prove Mukondiwa’s payments, but nothing came out. Mukondiwa’s two properties had already been sold for close to $400 000.

Justice Zhou ruled against Muzuva, who appealed to the Supreme Court, butlost again.

She engaged another lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, who tried to plead with the bank to allow her to put a tenant in the house and use the proceeds to pay off the debt, but the financial institution rejected the offer.

She approached the High Court for her matter to be heard regarding her proposal but while she was still waiting for a court date, the sheriff auctioned the house and FBC won the bid.

She challenged the actions of the deputy sheriff and won the case, with the court ordering that the sale of the house should be halted until the raging court case was concluded.

The sheriff, however, advertised the house again and FBC was said to have won again.

Muzuva again challenged the sale of the house and another sheriff ruled that the sale was lawful, and in less than 30 days required by law to challenge any ruling, the sale had been concluded without a court order.

Madhuku challenged the process but the High Court ruled that the sale of the property should go ahead.

Muzuva is supposed to vacate the house at the end of this month, but the High Court will hear her urgent application on December 27 as she tries to rescue the property.

She said she also made a report to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, alleging abuse of power, extortion, forgery and fraud by judicial officers.

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