Many are disillusioned by Homelink saga

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT LONDON - Since our front-page lead about an alleged Homelink scam two weeks ago, The Zimbabwean and several websites focussing on the country, have received considerable feedback from disgruntled customers. Homelink's chief executive, John Heath, issued a statement in which he d

enied the allegations. “Homelink was created to provide a safe, reliable and legitimate channel through which Zimbabweans living abroad could remit funds to relatives and friends back home easily and speedily. Since it was established it has fulfilled this role in an exemplary manner and has enabled a substantial level of foreign currency to be made available to the country, in turn providing much-needed funding to pay for essential services ranging from power and fuel to medicines and food,” says the statement. Heath added that the organisation worked with reputable agencies, notably money transfer agencies for the remittance of foreign currency and property developers for the facilitation of acquisition of homes by Zimbabweans abroad. Zimbabwean businessman Masimba Msipa, whose Charlottes Brooke development was at the centre of the scam allegations, is one such developer. “If circumstances change and a need arises, Homelink will review its relationship with any such third parties, but there has to date been no cause to do so. Feedback from the large number of people who have undertaken business dealings with and through Homelink has been highly positive, especially from people who have been acquiring homes through the projects identified by Homelink as being suitable for clients,” said Heath. “We would like people here and abroad to recognise that we place foremost in all our activities and programmes the interests of our clients and the whole country, which we wish to serve with integrity,” he added. Meanwhile, the official Homelink website last week carried a message from Patriot Properties claiming to set the record straight regarding the issues raised in The Zimbabwean’s article. However, no such statement was communicated to The Zimbabwean itself. The statement described Charlottes Brooke as being located in Borrowdale Estate 26km from the Harare CBD and 7 km north of Borrowdale Brooke. “Construction of houses at Charlottes Brooke’s phase five is based on a standard plan known as Villa Spaniola “Ruva” and there has never been a variation of this plan as alleged in the article,” says the statement, which also denied that the complainant was a client of Homelink. Out of the 1,000 registered properties at Charlottes Brooke, only 13 have been funded by Homelink. The complainant this week held a meeting with Msipa’s agent in the UK, Joseph Musungo, and the matter has been resolved amicably. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans in the UK continue to report their disappointment, anger and frustration experienced through business dealings related to the Homelink Scheme. They have all requested anonymity, for fear of reprisals against themselves or their relatives back home, and failure to recover the money they have already spent.

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