How a messy ZIMRA love triangle ended with NPA seeking to forfeit couple’s house

Kennedy Nyatoti

HARARE – Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officer is finding out.

Kennedy Nyatoti was married to workmate Tatenda Sipiwe Chisadza in 2016, before she got sacked from her job for corrupt activities.

Nyatoti then made a decision he will live to regret: he began dating another work colleague, Eunice Nyabadza, in 2018, resulting in a pregnancy.

The infidelity was the trigger for a series of events that could leave Nyatoti without a job and a home.

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) filed a court application seeking to seize Nyatoti’s three vehicles and a US$150,000 home in Domboshava built between 2014 and 2018, arguing that they were acquired using proceeds of a criminal enterprise.

This was after Nyatoti failed to explain the source of income enabling him to acquire the properties.

But the NPA did not need any clever investigation to conclude that Nyatoti may have benefited from corruption, his friends say.

“Nyatoti’s angry wife took all the evidence and approached ZIMRA’s loss control department. It’s either she didn’t understand the consequences of what she had started or was so determined to destroy her husband that she took actions than will also result in a loss to her because as a wife, she has an interest in the properties,” a friend of the ZIMRA officer familiar with the matter told ZimLive.

ZIMRA approached the NPA who are empowered under new laws to demand from any Zimbabwean an explanation about their wealth, with powers to forfeit assets deemed to have been corruptly acquired after getting a court order.

According to the NPA, Nyatoti bought a housing stand in Mabvazuva, Domboshava, for US$24,000 before building a US$150,000 mansion on it starting in 2014.

He paid US$10,000 in lobola for his wife in August 2016 and shelled out US$15,000 on a family trip to China. The couple also had three vehicles.

The Principal Public Prosecutor Kelvin Mufute, who deposed to an affidavit forming part of the forfeiture application, said he is satisfied that Nyatoti’s identified property constitutes proceeds of a criminal enterprise and is therefore tainted.

“In circumstances such as these where the respondents did not fully account for their acquisition of the specified property, this honourable court is justified to conclude that the property is of illicit origin and therefore tainted for purposes of declaring the same forfeited to State,” Mufute says in the court filing.

Tatenda, meanwhile, has initiated divorce proceedings against Nyatoti.

In a court filing last week, she says she has lived apart from her husband since January this year.

“The marriage between the parties has irretrievably broken down and there are no prospects of restoration of a normal marital relationship in that the defendant (Nyatoti) has committed adultery and gone to marry another woman,” she says in an affidavit accompanying her divorce application.

“The parties have lost love and affection for each other and the defendant has exhibited serious violent tendencies towards the plaintiff (Tatenda).”

Tatenda sued love rival Eunice in October last year, claiming US$50,000 adultery damages. – ZimLive