Chief Secretary to President and Cabinet sucked into fraud storm

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By Staff Reporter

Masvingo: THE Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda has been sucked into a fraud storm involving a Mberengwa man who allegedly defrauded the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) of 12 000 South African rands while claiming to be pursuing the top civil servant’s errand.

Shoko Tapiwa (49) pleaded not guilty to fraud charges when he made his initial appearance before a Masvingo magistrate Peter Mandibha recently.

He was remanded in custody for continuation of trial.

Prosecutor Edmond Mapope told the court that on 12 April this year, Shoko visited ZCC Mbungo estates in Masvingo and approached one Renias Masango who is the church secretary.

Shoko told Masango that he was from the President’s office and had been assigned to seek for monetary assistance on behalf of Sibanda.

He claimed that the assistance was to be channelled towards the ferrying the body of Sibanda’s relative who had died in South Africa.

Court further heard that Shoko told the church that Sibanda was in need of R11 900 and $75 but the money was supposed to be paid back through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, as it was state sanctioned appeal.

He then ordered the church to transfer the money into his personal Standard Chartered Bank account since he was the one traveling to South Africa.

Court was told that the church transferred the money into Shoko’s account in two different batches from 16 to 24 April.

The fraud was discovered when Masango later made enquiries with the RBZ only to be told no such arrangement existed between the apex bank and the church.

A police report was made and investigations led to Shoko’s arrest.