Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
The trial of a suspected serial fraudster who allegedly masqueraded as former High Court judge Justice Mafios Cheda and swindled several Government officials of large sums of money continued yesterday with one of the victims, Deputy Minister for Defence and War Veterans Affairs Victor Matemadanda testifying.
It is alleged Tinashe Munhuweyi (36), of Mufakose in Harare would call the victims and introduce himself as Justice Cheda and would pretend to be desperate and in urgent need of financial help.
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza and Member of Parliament for Bubi constituency Richard Moyo were also conned.
Other victims include Great Zimbabwe University Professor Ben Siyakwazi and a relative to the late retired High Court judge, Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, Naboth.
According to the State, the named victims lost a total of over $12 000.
Cde Matemadanda yesterday took to the witness stand and narrated before magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa how he lost his $600 to the suspected fraudster.
Cde Matemadanda said when he received the call for help from the imposter, he was made to believe it was Justice Cheda since they had met on several occasions.
He said he realised that he had been duped after “Justice Cheda” became evasive when he wanted his money back. “At one point, I called him (Munhuweyi) and he said he was in Namibia on his way to Belarus for a court session,” he said.
“He then said he had instructed his wife to send me my money but nothing came through. He was always changing stories that is when I realised I had been played.
“I conducted my own investigations and later spoke to the real Justice Cheda, who knew nothing about the transactions. Justice Cheda even said he had also received various complaints of people who had been duped in his name.”
Munhuweyi denied the allegations.
Prosecutor Ms Patience Chimusaru alleged that on September 17 last year, Munhuweyi contacted Cde Matemadanda while purporting to be Justice Cheda and misrepresented that he had two trucks which had run out of fuel at Chirundu Border Post.
He allegedly requested for $600 to refuel the trucks and pay for other expenses. Munhuweyi allegedly asked Cde Matemadanda to transfer the money into a supplied EcoCash account and promised to repay the debt.
Munhuweyi allegedly became evasive.
On November 28, Munhuweyi, the court heard, contacted Minister Sekai Nzenza masquerading as Justice Cheda and lied that his nephew had a truck carrying fertiliser which had a breakdown on its way from South Africa.
He asked for $825 to fix the truck before asking for a further $863 the following day which he said was for fuel.
The money was sent via EcoCash.
Minister Nzenza became suspicious due to the unending demands and made her own investigations which unearthed the scam.
Using the same modus operandi, Munhuweyi allegedly defrauded Professor Siyakwazi after misrepresenting that his son “Christian Cheda” had died while on his way to India for medical attention.
He then said he was looking for financial assistance towards his son’s funeral.
Meanwhile, in a separate case Pastor Admire Kasi yesterday appeared in court representing his real estate company, which is being charged with fraud that happened in 2002.
Husband to gospel musician Ivy Kombo, Pastor Kasi returned to Zimbabawe recently from his United Kingdom base.
He appeared before magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro and was remanded out of custody pending trial.
Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa told the court that Pastor Kasi was not being charged in his personal capacity.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2012, Priscilla Moyo saw an advert in a local newspaper that indicated Adsa Real Estate was selling a stand in Bluffhill, Harare.
She became interested and proceeded to Adsa Real Estate offices on February 22.
Moyo, the State alleged, paid a total of Z$1 495 537 in three instalmants for which she was given receipts.
After paying the full purchase price, Moyo who was then based in Botswana, gave his brother Kennedy power of attorney to sign the agreement of sale which was done on February 25.
It is the State’s case that on March 18, Moyo paid the balance of Z$580 000 to Adsa Real Estate’s secretary and was issued with a receipt.
She was promised the title deeds.
Moyo, the court head, did not develop the stand but was later surprised to see someone else developing it.