A bogus journalist on Saturday appeared in court on allegations of extorting US$1 300 from businessman and former Harare City official Albert Ndabambi to remove a damaging article he had published on his website and Twitter account.
Nelson D Masiyiwa, alias Goldstein, was facing extortion charges when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Judith Taruvinga and was remanded out of custody on $3000 bail.
The court heard that in early September Masiyiwa (29) made an online publication on Twitter handle @stateOTNationZW and website account www.stateofthenation.co.zw titled “Harare City Council awards a multimillion dollar tender to “Chief Albert” referring to Mr Ndabambi.
By September 6, Mr Ndabambi had investigated and identified Masiyiwa. He made arrangements to meet him along Glenara Avenue South in Hillside, Harare.
When they met, Masiyiwa allegedly demanded US$1 300 to remove the story from the website and on Twitter.
Mr Ndabambi promised to pay the next day and Masiyiwa removed the article from the website and Twitter awaiting payment.
It is the State’s case that the following day, Mr Ndabambi sent his friend with US$1 000, but Masiyiwa posted the same story and demanded the outstanding US$300.
Mr Ndabambi felt his reputation was being damaged and made a police report. The court heard that on September 18 an authority to trap was issued in order to trap Masiyiwa with three US$100 bills.
Masiyiwa continued calling Mr Ndabambi demanding the outstanding amount or he would not pull down the story.
On September 18, Masiyiwa told the complainant to check on the website and he complied.
The complainant found out that the article had been removed from the website and Twitter.
It is alleged that Masiyiwa threatened that if the complainant does not pay up he would republish the article.
On that same day Masiyiwa went to Belvedere to collect the US$300 and upon arrival he was handed the money and immediately arrested by detectives with a trap authority and the trap money was allegedly recovered.
After the arrest the court heard that Masiyiwa allegedly went on to send a text massage threatening to harm Mr Ndabambi if he did not agree to settle the matter out of court.