MARONDERA: The United Methodist Church Zimbabwe East has been caught in a land scandal after it fraudulently and allegedly ‘knowingly’ bought a piece of land that was stolen from a preschool Trust.

This happened without the consent and knowledge of the owners. The land belongs to Federation of Kushanda Pre-school Trust who is the 1st Plaintiff in a High Court case in which the trust is being represented by Teson Mutazu and Beatrice Guramatunhu in their capacity as Board Members.

The trust is seeking an order to have the sale of the land declared illegal and an eviction order issued.

Owners of the land have also given the Methodist Church an option to purchase the property at an amount equivalent to the value of the property as at the date of judgement and as shall be determined by a qualified valuer appointed from the Master of High Court’s panel of experts.

The Methodist Church Zimbabwe East bought the land illegally from Collins Rufutse and Emily Muzavazi who are 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.

According to court papers, in or about in 2006, the church got transfer from Municipality of Marondera of a piece of land Stand Number 1894 measuring 7640 hectares and accordingly became the owner of the property since then.

Then on the 12th of September 2007 and without the trust’s consent and authorisation, the Church bought the piece of land from the two defendants who entered into an agreement of sale with the Methodist Church.

Working with the Registrar of Deeds, the church and the two defendants then fraudulently transferred the Deed to Methodist Church Zimbabwe.

“The sale and transfer of the property to the Methodist was wrong and unlawful as it was done without the plaintiffs’ consent and knowledge. The 2nd and 3rd defendant had no right to dispose of the property and acted in a fraudulent manner,” argue the trust’s lawyers.

According to the court papers, the Methodist Church was fully aware who the rightful owners of the property were.

Therefore the trust wants the church to be evicted from the property within seven days of the granting of the order and also and order reinstating Deed of Transfer No 2910/2006 in favour of the pre­school and consequent cancellation of the Title Deed No 5474/2015