‘CIO’ Dupes Farmer 18K
28 September 2023
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Alleged Impersonator of Central Intelligence Organisation Faces Fraud Charges.

In a startling court appearance yesterday, Walter Makwalo (34) found himself facing 18 counts of fraud as he claimed to be a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officer.

The charges stem from allegations that Makwalo swindled a Mt Hampden farmer, Mr. Simon George Lee, out of US$18,000. This sum was paid under the pretense that it was required for a series of bribes, all in an attempt to recover US$170,000 that had been defrauded from Mr. Lee two years prior.

The court hearing, presided over by Harare magistrate Mrs. Marehwanazvo Gofa, saw Makwalo remanded to Friday for his bail ruling.

The complex web of allegations unfolds as Mr. Lee had reported being defrauded of US$170,600 by Gabrielle Arezio and Maurizio Arezio in 2021. In November of the following year, he sought the assistance of Makwalo, following the advice of a friend, Mr. Shadreck Zimondi.

Makwalo allegedly presented himself as an officer commanding operations of the southern region of the Central Intelligence Organisation and promised to help Mr. Lee locate and apprehend the alleged fraudsters while recovering the stolen money. However, this assistance came at a steep price.

According to the prosecution, Makwalo demanded funds to bribe various officials, including police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, prison officers, and even a judge. The total sum extorted from Mr. Lee amounted to US$18,000.

The allegations include payments for police officers, public prosecutors, magistrates, investigating officers, and even high-ranking officials, with Makwalo claiming senior Zanu PF officials and Office of the President and Cabinet bosses required substantial bribes.

These claims culminated in the arrest of Maurizio Arezio and a series of payments demanded by Makwalo, allegedly for various individuals involved in the case, including judges.

Makwalo’s alleged fraudulent actions came to light after Mr. Lee reported the matter to the police. The court is set to delve deeper into this intricate case as it unfolds in the coming days.-state media