Housing cooperative chairman in US$31k fraud storm 

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By Paul Katanda

FORMER Chairman of New Castle Housing Cooperative Thursday appeared in court charged with fraud after he squandered members’ funds amounting to US$31 465.

Onsimo Jokonya (38) appeared before Harare magistrate, Yeukai Dzuda, and was granted ZW$50 000 bail.

He will be back in court on August 29, 2022.

Jokonya was the chairman of Newcastle Housing Cooperative from 2008 to 2017.

It is alleged that on February 15, 2008, Delta Beverages employees created a cooperative named New Castle Housing Co-operative, comprising 22 members and Jokonya was elected Chairman.

From 2012 up to December 2014, the co-operative had a Kingdom Bank account in which members agreed to deposit US$50 monthly contributions.

The members safeguarded their money by not allowing any transactions to be done at the bank without the knowledge of all the members.

From 2012 to October 24, 2016, Jokonya, as the chairman, allegedly received quotations from the consortium which was running New Castle Housing Cooperative and other Cooperatives and initiated payments to the treasurer of the consortium from the bank without the consent or knowledge of other cooperative members.

It is alleged that Jokonya also inflated figures from the one he would have paid to the consortium from the withdrawals he would have made from the bank and in some instances no payment was made.

In October 2016, members of the co-operative requested a bank statement from Stanbic Bank, and they realised that he had transferred US$2 100 from the cooperative’s account into his personal account though the bank later reversed the transaction after noticing the anomaly.

Auditors traced fraudulent activities to Jokonya, and the prejudice was US$31 465.

Other members of the cooperative made a police report, leading to the arrest of Jokonya.

Zebediah Bofu represented the State.