Monday, 12 January 2015

Crowhill Farm row spills to High Court... Ozias Bvute vs. Cephas Msipa

Court Reporter
THE High Court is expected to hear a matter in which businessman Mr Ozias Bvute wants to be vindicated as the legal owner of Crowhill Farm and wants to regain ownership of the farm from Mr Cephas Msipa, who is holding on to the property.

The matter will be heard tomorrow before Justice Bhunu.

Through his lawyer Mr Tinashe Tanyanyiwa of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, Mr Bvute is suing for the return of his property. Mr Bvute has since lodged a complaint of fraud against Mr Msipa and his company to the police.

The property is registered in the name of Crowhill Farm (Pvt) Ltd, the applicant in the matter. Crowhill Farm (Pvt) Ltd is owned by Mr Bvute.

Mr Bvute
Mr Msipa, Crowhill Farms (Crowhill Pvt) Ltd, Mr Themba Hlongwane, The Registrar of Deeds and the Sheriff are cited as first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents respectively.

The businessman alleges that Mr Msipa acted fraudulently by subdividing the farm and disposing of stands without his knowledge through various estate agents including Africa Real Estate and Darwin Properties. According to the court application, Mr Msipa has never been part of Crowhill Farm (Pvt) Ltd. Mr Msipa allegedly became involved with the company after he approached Mr Bvute claiming that he could subdivide the farm as he had done at his Charlotte Brook development.

The court documents say that the respondents subdivided some of the land and remitted 300 stands to Mr Bvute’s company under the pretext that they were the only stands that had been subdivided. A site visit showed that Mr Msipa had actually subdivided 4 000 stands and concerted efforts to stop the process yielded nothing.

Upon receiving title deeds to facilitate the subdivision of the farm, it is alleged that Mr Msipa handed over the title deeds to his sister-in-law’s law firm, BM Msipa and Associates, who have been assisting him to “perpetrate this fraud against the Applicant company”, court documents say.


Mr Bvute said he intends to lodge a complaint with the Law Society of Zimbabwe as to the conduct by the legal practitioners for lying under oath.

“I am the owner of Applicant company (Crowhill Farm) and myself and the other director never authorised the 2nd Respondent (Mr Msipa) to act in the manner in which he did. He was simply tasked to sub-divide the property and not to sell for his own gain. He misrepresented to me that he was sub dividing the stands while all along he has sold and parcelled out others in order to buy goodwill,” said Mr Bvute.

Mr Msipa allegedly doled out stands to several politicians allegedly to buy favours. The stands were allegedly sold at prices well below their market value.

To facilitate the alleged theft of the property, Mr Msipa is said to have clandestinely registered a company called Crowhill (Pvt) Ltd as a subsidiary of Mr Bvute’s Crowhill Farm (Pvt) Ltd.

A letter dated June 1, 2008 written by a Mr Gilbert Chawada effected the registration of the purported subsidiary.

Mr Bvute said his company did not authorise the registration of the subsidiary but that Mr Msipa and his cohorts registered the company as a vehicle to be used in their fraudulent activities. He said there is no connection between his Crowhill Farm (Pvt) and Msipa’s Crowhill (Pvt) Ltd. “All I know of it is from the letter on page 18 of the notice of opposition where it is supposedly a subsidiary of Applicant Company,” said Mr Bvute.

Mr Bvute bought the farm from the Woodhouse family. The Woodhouse family is the original owner of Crowhill Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which was registered with the Registrar of Companies in 1972.

The court application shows that the family sold the farm to Mr Bvute and appointed him director of the company by virtue of the sale.

Mr Thembinkosi Magwaliba, who represented Mr Bvute when he purchased the farm, filed a supporting affidavit highlighting how the businessman bought the farm and the company.

In his opposing affidavit, Mr Msipa wants the application to be dismissed.

However, last week Mr Msipa ran newspaper adverts announcing his resignation from the company and surrendering administration of the farm to Mr Bvute. Herald
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