MASHONALAND West resident minister Faber Chidarikire and Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka have been sucked into a fraudulent scheme, in which their names were allegedly used by a suspected fraudster to con several people of more than $39 000.
Zakeyo Chirumezani (38), founder of a non-governmental organisation called Community Development Trust based in Mvurwi, appeared before Harare magistrate, Milton Serima on Friday, but will be back in court today for his bail application.
State counsel Sharon Mashavira alleged that Chirumezani defrauded communal farmers from Hurungwe, Chundu and Nyamukate areas under Chief Chundu between January 2013 and February 2014 under the guise that his non-governmental organisation (NGO) would assist them with agricultural inputs and transport.
The court heard that in pursuit of his plan, Chirumezani approached Chidarikire seeking authority to distribute agricultural inputs in the province, authorisation which was granted.
Armed with a letter of authority written by Chidarikire, the accused person allegedly approached the substantive Chief Chundu, Abel Mbasera, purporting to be representing a bona fide NGO and convinced the chief to rally his subjects behind the programme.
During the period, several farmers under Chief Chundu are said to have contributed $192 each for 16 days, totalling $17 413 and they were promised 50kg bags of fertilizer each.
The money was paid by the chief’s aide, identified in court papers as Chigumbura, through EcoCash transfer to mobile number 0778 213 885.
Chirumezani allegedly approached Mahoka, whom he convinced to give him $1 000 purporting that the money was for the transportation of fertilisers from Mvurwi depot to Hurungwe.
The court heard that the money was paid by a councillor, only identified as Ndlovu through EcoCash.
The accused person then approached a cleric identified as Pastor Rudgeson Makonye and misrepresented to him that he was the training co-ordinator for CDT and was in need of 1 500 literature books to train farmers, it is alleged.
He was reportedly given 200 books valued at $1 000 on credit, on the understanding that Makonye would collect his payment after two days at Chirumezani’s offices in Mvurwi.
When Makonye went to the said offices after two days, he discovered the offices were non-existent.
The accused person is alleged to have proceeded to Kariba, where he met Nicholas Matomba and introduced himself and his organisation.
He allegedly ordered 70 tonnes of kapenta fish misrepresenting that he wanted to distribute them to less privileged families in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces.
The court heard that Matomba supplied Chirumezani with 2 400kg of kapenta fish valued at $17 500 after agreeing that the latter would deposit the money into the complainant’s bank account.
He then approached Advance Pasca, whom he told he was in need of three sets of sofas for use during his meetings with donors, it is alleged.
He was supplied with the sofas valued at $2 810, but did not pay for them as he had promised.
Chirumezani caused the complainants actual prejudice of $39 723 and nothing was recovered.