HARARE businessman-cum-rhumba crooner Energy Mutodi’s massive housing project in Masvingo faces collapse after the owner of the land earmarked for the project recently reclaimed it.
Landowner Charles Banga, whose farm Mutodi’s National Housing Development Trust had intended to develop and allocate stands to close to 2 000 homeseekers, yesterday said he had repossessed the land after the musician failed to honour his side of the bargain.
“We did not sell our farm to Mutodi. He approached us looking for land, but he did not have readily available cash,” Banga said.
“We told him to develop a certain piece of land in exchange for a number of stands over a two-year period, but it lapsed without fruition. So he handed over the project to us since we own the land.”
The housing project was meant to benefit civil servants based in rural areas.
Banga said he will deal with paid-up members and refer those who are not paid up to Mutodi since the musician was the one getting the monthly installments from the homeseekers through his housing trust.
Homeseekers, who have reportedly been paying $100 monthly instalments for the stands since 2009, yesterday expressed fear that they could have been duped of their money.
With each individual having paid an estimated $5 000, the money owed to the homeseekers could be well over $10 million. Mutodi confirmed the development yesterday, saying he would work out modalities to ensure those who could not be accommodated by Banga would get stands somewhere else in Masvingo.
“We have handed over the project to the landowner,” he said.
“It is true we had some problems, but we will look for land for those members who would not be accommodated by the landowner,” Banga also briefed members of the housing project about the latest development.
“Those who are interested may come aboard, and those who do not like will have to stay behind with Mutodi whom they entered an agreement with,” he said.
In Harare, Mutodi is facing a fraud charge involving more than $6 million after allegedly fleecing unsuspecting homeseekers through his trust.
He is also accused of defrauding desperate homeseekers close to $2 million in Mutare.
Mutodi is currently out of custody on $2 000 bail after spending nearly a month in remand.