By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
A CHINHOYI magistrate has convicted a close relative to late former president Robert Mugabe for defrauding a couple of US$4 300 in a botched land deal.
Ruvengo Jenami (45), who was facing a fraud charge, was Tuesday sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
However, Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Sithembiso Ndebele set aside three months for five years on condition of good behaviour, while another three months were suspended on condition Jenami restitutes the complainant US$4 300.
The remaining six months were commuted to 410 hours of unpaid work.
Smart Kufandikamwe is the complainant in the matter.
It was the State’s case that in September 2017, Kufandikamwe, a member of the Zimbabwe National Army, and his wife Ashley Chikaka, a police officer, were seeking farmland in the Zvimba area.
Kufandikamwe’s sister, Chipo Hungwe, who gave testimony during the protracted trial, told the couple that Jenami, who is Chief Chidziva (Johannes Jenami)’s son, was selling a plot.
It was heard that the complainant arranged to meet Jenami. Upon meeting, Jenami told the couple to buy 10 buckets of groundnuts to give to Chief Chidziva who would ‘bless’ the transaction.
During the month of September 2017, the complainant, his wife, and sister went to Dalkeith farm in Zvimba where they were introduced to Chief Chidziva by Ruvengo Jenami.
The chief reportedly told the prospective land buyers that, indeed, the land belonged to his son.
The convict claimed they were of the Gushungo clan, who were custodians of the land given to them by the late ex-president Mugabe and had title deeds.
Ruvengo also claimed he was selling the plot since he had acquired a bigger one in Raffingora.
After being convinced, Kufandikamwe and his wife agreed to pay for the land, including a three-bedroomed house, round kitchen hut, unroofed one-roomed unit, and a toilet.
The couple, on various occasions, transferred varying amounts of money into Jenami’s bank account to offset the purchase price of the land and developments on it.
Following the completion of the sale, the couple settled at the plot.
However, when Kufandikamwe went to the plot on 15 September last year, he found Jenami’s wife, Nyarai Charewa, who told him to pack his belongings and vacate as Jenami had returned to his property.
The matter was then reported to the police leading to Jenami’s arrest for fraud. Total value prejudiced was US$4 300 and nothing was recovered.
Texas Manditsvara prosecuted.