By Mary Taruvinga
AN English Premier League giants Manchester United star Marcus Rashford lookalike Ishmael Duwa Austin has been dragged to court facing fraud charges after he conned a police officer of more than $13 000 in a botched car deal.
Austin car salesman from Chitungwiza became a worldwide sensation after his pictures resembling the England star went viral on social media platforms early this year.
He allegedly defrauded Tinotenda Chitenga, a police officer stationed at ZRP Support Unit.
Austin appeared before a Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye facing fraud charges.
He was not asked to plead and was remanded out of custody on $200 bail.
It is the State’s case that sometime in June 2018, Chitenga decided to purchase a Honda Fit car.
He reportedly visited Seke Flyover Car Sale and met Austin who misrepresented to him that there was a car auction at Zimra Beitbridge and if Chitenga was interested, he would assist him in buying and delivering the car within two days after payment.
The State alleges that Austin further indicated that he had connections with Zimra Beitbridge officials who would facilitate the payment and a quick delivery of the car to Chitenga.
It is State’s case that Chitenga agreed and indicated that he wanted to buy a Honda Fit.
Austin allegedly supplied the name of a mobile money platform agent registered in the name of one Greeting Mangwende and instructed Chitenga to deposit $13 845 to one Austin Muli whom he purported was a Zimra official based at Beitbridge.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Chitenga allegedly deposited $13 845 into the supplied account but Austin never delivered the car.
This is the second time this year Austin has appeared in court facing charges of defrauding desperate car seekers.
In January, Austin appeared in court for allegedly defrauding a car seeker, Grace Chikwava, of US$3 000.
The State alleged that advertised a Mercedes Benz Vito on his Facebook account and Chikwava became interested.
She allegedly contacted Austin and for negotiations and they met at a local hotel where they agreed at a US43000 deal for the car.
It is alleged that Austin told Chikwava to pay US$400 commitment fee to stop him from advertising the vehicle and she complied.
Chikwava later paid the required sun in full and was advised to go back to their meeting place to get the car but Duwa became evasive and a police report was made.
Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.