Land Seeker Duped Of US$32k Cash In Fake Stand Deal
5 September 2020
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Two Chitungwiza men yesterday appeared in court on allegations of defrauding an unsuspecting home-seeker of US$32 000 by using fake identity cards to sell a Mandara stand they do not own.

The home-seeker, only found out that he did not own the stand when a neighbour noticed them delivering building materials and siting a borehole and told them who actually owned it.

But after paying their money they had taken a group photograph, and that helped the police track down the two suspects, despite the use of fake ID cards.

Emmerson Chigonyati (46) and Enoss Gwangwadza (23) were facing fraud charges when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko.

The State opposed bail and the two were remanded in custody to Monday for the court to hear the bail application.

It is alleged that sometime in June this year the two, with two others, hatched a plan to defraud home-seekers and they flighted an advert in The Herald offering the Mandara stand for sale.

The court heard that the complainant’s wife phoned and spoke to someone who misrepresented himself as Jupiter Charles Punungwe and gave her directions to the stand and she viewed it and developed interest.

It is the State’s case that the two parties agreed on a purchase price of US$35 000.

The husband in the couple sold his property in Chitungwiza and advised the suspects that he was ready to purchase the stand.

The accused two allegedly misrepresented that they lived in Chivhu and hence on August 8 they invited the complainant and his wife there to make the payments.

The court heard that Chigonyati misrepresented to the complainant that he was Punungwe, the owner of the stand, and produced a metal identification card bearing that name.

It is alleged that Gwangwadza identified himself as Sam Mugari, nephew to Chigonyati, and produced a plastic identity card bearing that name.

The accused persons allegedly went on to produce a fraudulent deed of transfer number 0008695/2001 in the name of Punungwe and made the complainant to believe that he was buying a real stand.

The court heard that the complainant paid US$32 000 to Chigonyati, resulting in the signing of the memorandum of agreement of sale.

After the payment the complainant requested for a group photo to be taken in the company of the accused persons which he took using his cell phone.

The court heard that on August 10 and 11 the complainant made some deliveries of building materials to the stand and also invited a surveyor to find a site to drill a borehole.

At that juncture the complainant was approached by a neighbour who informed him that the owner of the stand was residing in South Africa and the stand was not for sale.

It is alleged that the complainant tried to call the accused persons to no avail, prompting him to report the matter to the police. With the group photo he was able to supply pictures of the two accused persons which led to their arrest.

The court heard that Chigonyati was arrested at Chikwanha in Chitungwiza while driving an unregistered Toyota Corolla which is suspected to have been bought from the proceeds of the crime.

The motor vehicle was searched and some identity cards belonging to different people and several sim cards believed to be used to call victims were recovered.