Bogus OPC officer arrested at court

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By Staff Reporter

A bogus officer from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) was arrested at the Harare Magistrates Court where he was appearing on other fraud allegations.

John Chakahwanda (51) is accused of duping land seekers claiming that he was an official from the Lands Ministry and also the OPC.

It is alleged that he told his victims that he was selling farms in Zvimba.

Chakahwanda was initially arrested on February 6 after he was accused of defrauding three other individuals of a combined US$31 040.

He appeared before Harare Magistrate Dennis Mangosi who remanded him in custody.

He will return to court Friday to file his bail application.

It is alleged that Chakahwanda pretended to be an official from the Lands Ministry and Office of the President and Cabinet, who could help facilitate the purchase of farms in Zvimba.

In the first charge, the State is alleging that Chakahwanda took Epimarco Saul Tigere Muswerakuenda to the Ministry of Lands offices and introduced him to his accomplice, Victor Mukuchamano.

“The two reportedly demanded US$400 which they claimed was ‘an introduction fee’.

“After receiving the money, the accused and his accomplice told the complainant that they were supposed to go to Zvimba to see Chief Zvimba since the land was within his area, ” the court heard.

On the same date, the complainant, accompanied by Collen Chimney and Mukuchamano, and the accused went to Zvimba.

Upon arrival, the accused made introductions before indicating to the Chief that the complainant was the one looking for a piece of land.

The court heard Chief Zvimba then instructed the two accused to offer the land to the complainant.

“After a couple of days, the complainant met the accused in Greendale, Harare where they demanded money to kick start the process. The complainant paid US$10 400 for processing.

“Sometime in August 2021, the accused went to the complainant’s homestead equipped with a fake copy of an order letter and stated that the Minister needed US$2 500 for her to sign the letter as it was not yet signed.

“The complainant was made to fork out US$2 500 on the pretext that it was the Minister’s share when in fact it was not,” the court heard.

In July of that year, Chakahwanda reportedly took Muswerakuenda to the farm but showed him a second fake offer letter which the latter managed to identify as fake.

The two men then got into an argument before the accused and his accomplice disappeared after lying that they were visiting the bathroom.

In the second count, it is alleged that the accused lied to one Yemurayi Huni, claiming that he could help her secure a farm since he was employed by the President’s office.

After allegedly receiving US$10 000, Chakahwanda failed to meet his promise and instead threatened to withdraw the fake offer letter if she did not pay an additional US$12 400.

Huni later realised that Chakahwanda was not a government employee and filed a police report on November 23 last year leading to his Thursday arrest.