BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
FORMER Information deputy minister Bright Matonga appeared in court yesterday facing charges of duping a Malawian national of US$10 000 in a botched deal to supply demonetised Zimbabwe trillion dollar notes.
Matonga (51), who is jointly charged with Onesmo Ndoro (47), appeared before Harare magistrate Barbara Mateko, who remanded them to June 27 on $300 bail each.
The complainant in the matter is Kelvin Chipeta, who is based in South Africa.
Matonga is denying the allegations, saying he did not receive any money from the complainant.
The former minister was, however, placed on remand by consensus after his lawyers Musekiwa Mbanje and Lucky Dube had insisted that their client could not be placed on remand in the absence of the complainant. The complainant is believed to have skipped the border after he overstayed his permit in the country.
Allegations are that sometime in March this year, Chipeta was requested by a United States company to acquire demonetised Zimbabwean trillion dollars notes. Chipeta then contacted Matonga through a social media platform and enquired whether he was able to supply the notes.
It is alleged that Matonga referred Chipeta to Ndoro who is licenced to deal in the notes in Zimbabwe.
The State avers that both parties agreed that Ndoro would supply 3 000 Zimbabwean trillion dollar notes for $10 000. Chipeta and his unnamed partner immediately travelled to Zimbabwe with $10 000 which they declared with the immigration officials.
Matonga and Ndoro then received Chipeta and his partner at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and went to a restaurant in Alexandra Park where they were to seal the deal.
Chipeta allegedly handed over US$10 000 to Ndoro, who later counted the money with Matonga. And after counting the money, Ndoro allegedly walked out of the restaurant to ostensibly collect the Zimbabwe trillion dollar notes.
Chipeta and his partner were left seated with Matonga as they waited for Ndoro to return, but he never came back. It is said they tried to call him, but could not get through.
Matonga allegedly kept on reassuring the complainant that Ndoro would return, but to no avail.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.