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Two land seekers defrauded US$7 150 in Mvuma

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Two land seekers defrauded US$7 150 in Mvuma


Theresa Zibowa

MVUMA- Magistrate Constance Mutandwa has sentenced two men, Bernard Hlongwani (37) and Silvester Chiurunga (61) to one and a half years in jail for defrauding two land seekers US$ 7 150.
Hlongwani of Central Estate Headquarters compound, Mvuma and Chiurunga of plot number 453 Central Estates, Mvuma pretended to be land officers in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development to the land seekers.
A third accomplice Timothy Mhike is still at large.
They defrauded Guest Mushambi (46) of US$4 700 and Thomas Madiro Tinago (51) of US$2 450 between 2021 and 2022.
In her judgment, Magistrate Mutandwa cautioned land seekers against paying huge sums of money to individuals without verifying their identities. She also said that money should be receipted in offices and not at street corners.
She suspended four months on condition that Hlongwani and Chiurunga do not commit a similar offence in the next five years and a further eight months were suspended on condition that they restitute the complainants.
Prosecutor Takudzwa Mtyawawiri told the court that sometime in July 2021, Hlongwani, Mhike and Chiurunga connived to defraud Thomas Madiro Tinago (51) of Turf in Kadoma.
Mhike told Hlongwani that Tinago was looking for a piece of land and Hlongwani misrepresented himself as a lands officer. The two met at Tinago’s house in Kadoma in August 2021 and Hlongwani was given US$ 1 500. Which he claimed was for processing paperwork.
In July 2022 Chiurunga and Mhike met Tinago in Mvuma and indicated that 50 hectares of land were available for US$3 000 in Central Estates, Mvuma. Tinago then paid US$950 to Chiurunga as down payment and he was allocated the land in August 2022.
The fraud came to light on December 6, 2022 when Tinago was evicted by Police and informed that the land belongs to Lan Fourie. He then filed a Police report.
Hlongwani, Mhike and Chiurunga also met Mushambi in July 2022 in Mvuma and told him that they were selling a piece of land measuring 50 hectares in Central Estates, Mvuma for US$ 4 700.
Hlongwani then gave Mushambi a fake offer letter and drove him to Central Estates where they showed him the 50 hectare piece of land in Lan Fourie’s plot.
They returned to Mvuma and Mushambi paid the whole amount to Chiurunga in the presence of Hlongwani and Mhike.
Mushambi was evicted from the plot by Police on December 6, 2022 and told that the land belongs to Lan Fourie. He then filed a Police report.

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