Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
The trial for the former Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Petronella Kagonye started yesterday.
Kagonye pleaded not guilty before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro.
The former minister is the first accused, while her firm, Glorious Real Estate, is the second accused.
The State alleges that Kagonye misrepresented to Shingiriro Housing Cooperative and Vaduku Housing Cooperative that she and her company Glorious Real Estate owned Solomio Farm and offered it to the cooperative for residential stands.
As a result of the misrepresentation, the cooperatives were prejudiced of US$38 500 each which they paid for the stands.
She is also accused of receiving 20 computers from Potraz through her brother Evans Kagonye after misrepresenting that she was going to handover the said computers to schools in Goromonzi South Constituency.
Kagonye is said to have not donated the computers and used them for her personal use.
In denying the charges, Kagonye told the court that Glorious properties was appointed as the developer of the property in 2013 by the local government ministry and therefore had rightful claim to develop the land for residential purposes.
Kagonye told the court that on that purpose, it was incorrect for the state to claim that she misrepresented that they owned or had a lawful mandate to develop the land.
The department of physical planning approved the layout plan on the property on 30 September 2015.
Ownership dispute of the farm spilled to the High court which ruled out that the farm was irregularly acquired and belonged to ZB Financial Holdings and Landela Safaris.
She further argued in her defence outline that in 2013, no dispute had arisen between the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and ZB Bank and Landela Safaris about the ownership of the land and there was certainly no pronouncement by a court as to who the real owner of the land other than to hold in good faith what was made known to her.
In that regard, she said she was entitled to deal with the cooperatives in the manner that she did.
On the theft charges, Kagonye said no one from Potraz ever called her to request an explanation of what had happened with the computers.
Zivanai Macharaga appeared for the State.