Rusape stands racket sucks two more

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THE Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Commercial Crimes Unit has nabbed two more suspects in the Rusape Town Council stands racket which has claimed the scalps of senior staff members at the local authority.

The scandal resulted in the council and individuals being duped of over US$500 000 after an intricate web of staff members in the housing department and their cronies connived to commit one of the biggest frauds in the history of the local authority.

Last week, detectives nabbed two former interns who were allegedly working with former housing clerk, Jacob Chiraswa, who is on the run.

The trio duped two individuals of US$18 000 after fraudulently selling them the local authority’s stands.

The two, Simbarashe Machemedze (27) and Tafadzwa Nyakuwanikwa (27) appeared separately before Rusape magistrate, Ms Annie Ndiraya.

They were granted $50 000 bail each and remanded to March 6.

Prosecutor, Mr Marlon Makamba said Machemedze, working in cahoots with Chiraswa, sold a residential stand to Mr Simbarashe Matunga after misleading him that it belonged to Machemedze.

“Sometime in December 2021, Mr Matunga was looking for a residential stand in Rusape and got information that Machemedze was selling a stand. When Mr Matunga approached him, Machemedze told him that he was selling his stand along Nyanga Drive in Rusape.

“Machemedze allowed Mr Matunga to view the stand and asked for US$10 500 for it. Machemedze told Mr Matunga that he would facilitate the change of ownership of the said property once the whole amount was paid.

“Machemedze then connived with Jacob Chiraswa and manipulated the Rusape Town Council’s filling system. The two registered the stand into the complainant’s name to make Mr Matunga believe that the transaction was genuine,” said Mr Makamba.

The matter only came to light when Mr Matunga was about to develop the stand.

He was told that the stand was fraudulently transferred into his name.

Mr Matunga made a police report.

The Prosecutor said Nyakuwanikwa and Chiraswa allegedly used the same method to dupe Mr Egypt Mashiri.

“Sometime in April 2021, Nyakuwanikwa connived with Chiraswa to defraud unsuspecting home-seekers. Chiraswa identified Stand Number 4184, Crocodile, which was among stands reserved for the council.

“Nyakuwanikwa approached Mr Mashiri and advised him that Rusape Town Council was selling the said stand for US$8 000. Nyakuwanikwa told Mr Mashiri that the stand would be transferred into the buyer’s name immediately after the payment of the purchase price.

“The complainant sourced US$7 500 from his South Africa-based brother, Mr Misheck Mashiri. He supplied his brother’s details to the Nyakuwanikwa who then took them to Chiraswa who fraudulently changed the stand details in the council’s system into Mr Misheck Mashiri’s name,” said Mr Makamba.

He said Nyakuwanikwa even advised Mr Mashiri to verify if the stand was reflecting his brother’s name.

“Nyakuwanikwa and Chiraswa did not issue a receipt to Mr Mashiri and converted the money to their own use. Mr Mashiri began to construct a house on the stand.

“He approached Rusape Town Council for the third stage approval of his proposed house and that is when he was advised to stop any further developments since the stand had been fraudulently issued,” Mr Makamba told the court. – Manica Post