HARARE – Former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma was charged with three counts of fraud when she appeared before a Harare magistrate on Friday.

Gumbochuma, 61, is accused of profiteering from state land in transactions conducted between 2014 and 2016.

Harare magistrate Elisha Singano remanded her to October 23 on $500 bail. She will report to the police twice weekly, among other conditions.

Prosecuting, Michael Reza said sometime in August 2014, stands 139 and 140 of Gillingham Estate in Dzivarasekwa were available for sale to deserving developers with demonstrable capacity. Gumbochuma, it is alleged, misrepresented to the Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing that she had the capacity to develop the land.

On March 27, 2015, she was offered the land with a requirement that she pays an intrinsic land value of $424,426 to the ministry.

“Gumbochuma, who had neither the capacity to pay the intrinsic land value nor to develop the land then created and registered a company Scanien Pvt Ltd as a vehicle to further her fraudulent transaction,” the prosecutor said.

Between August 2017 to October 2017, Gumbochuma allegedly sold the land to N-Frasys for $2 million. N-Frasys then paid the intrinsic land value to the ministry and paid the balance to Gumbochuma.

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Reza said Gumbochuma had “profiteered from state land”.

On the second count, it is alleged that Gumbochuma misrepresented that Rodonior Pvt Ltd was a registered company sometime in February 2016. She made an application for land under the company’s name. The ministry, acting upon the alleged misrepresentation, allocated 150 hectares of land in Good Hope to Rodonior Pvt Ltd.

On the third count, it is alleged she made another application for land using Rodonior, and was allocated land in Chishawasha B, Goromonzi. That offer was, however, withdrawn on September 15, 2016.

Harare lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku is representing Gumbochuma.