A MAN scammed a mine of gold worth over $150,000 over a 10-month period – after telling management that he had been sent by President Robert Mugabe, a court heard.
Blessing Baureni Makiwa, 40, posed as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agent and instilled the fear of God in staff at Tolrose Mine in Kadoma by boasting: “I am Mugabe’s most trusted operative.”
Between October 2010 and August 2011, Makiwa collected more than 3kgs of gold which he claimed he was delivering to Mugabe.
Makiwa, of Cleverdon Farm in Kadoma, told the mine’s managers that any opposition to his demands would result in Mugabe taking over the mine.
On Wednesday, Makiwa appeared before a Harare magistrate charged with theft and undermining the authority of the President.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe remanded him out of custody to August 8 on US$200 bail.
Prosecuting, David Magwegwe told the court that Makiwa hatched an elaborate con which first involved him convincing the local community close to the mine in Eiffel Flats that he worked in the President’s Office.
He then sold mine management a make-believe story that Mugabe was interested in taking over the mine, but they could stave off the seizure by periodically delivering gold to the President – through him.
On several occasions over a 10-month period, the mine surrendered gold to Makiwa but workers became suspicious when his demands increased in regularity and called in the police.
Prosecutors say Makiwa has never worked for the President’s Office.
Tolrose Mine – which produces an average 1,5kgs of gold daily – is currently mired in an ownership dispute between businessmen Patterson Timba and Jameson Rushwaya.