BY DOUGLAS REDFERN
JOHANNESBURG- South African based Zimbabwean businessman has been cleared of wrongdoing in a probe by the Attorney General’s (AG) office after multiple complaints by people who lost properties they surrendered as surety for loans.
The AG’s announcement has cleared up a cloud of suspicion that had been hanging over Frank Buyanga who had been accused of fraud by defaulting clients.
For years, the businessman had been portrayed in the media as an unethical businessman, a view the prosecutor in chief of Zimbabwe has dismissed.
Buyanga’s money-lending business in Zimbabwe has had problems with government and defaulting clients. Buyanga’s borrowers secured their loans with their homes. Every now and again, defaulters refused to give up their houses, leading to litigation and growing disgruntlement.
But on Friday, the AG’s office said the businessman had been correct in enforcing terms of the loan agreement.
In statement to Zimbabwe’s leading daily, The Herald, the AG’s office said: “A few years ago we carried out some investigations on him but we discovered that these people who had approached our offices had borrowed money from Mr Buyanga and were only trying to find a way of not paying him back the money,’’
The statement said further: “We even went to the extent of denying to prosecute him since there was no case against him. Mr Buyanga is, however, not blacklisted from making property transfers. There is nothing like that.”
On Thursday, a registrar from the Deeds Office testified in court that Buyanga, who has been again wrongly accused of an alleged fraudulent house sale, was, in fact, the legal property owner of the property.
According to Ellen Runyararo Mawire, title deeds held at her office in respect of the property in question were legally registered in Buyanga’s name but the registrar had rejected a defaulting client (Bishop Jeche’s) who is now the accused person’s attempt to transfer the property into his name.
Buyanga already has an impressive property portfolio.
Last week he was revealed as one of South Africa’s largest private property owner.
Buyanga, 38, who owns various successful companies, has spent much of the past few years snapping up vast swathes of the Sandown area in Sandton.
One of Africa’s richest businessmen under 40, is thought to be worth $300million, formed a deep affection for Sandton after purchasing a multimillion-dollar penthouse at the Michelangelo.
The Sunday Times said of him last week: “reputed to be one of the biggest property owners in Sandown, an affluent suburb of Sandton.”
Sandton is one of the most affluent areas in Johannesburg and is the most important business and financial district in South Africa. Today, Sandton is Africa’s richest square mile.
Buyanga’s property portfolio has over 500 house in Zimbabwe and South Africa.