Housing stands scam sucks in lawyers

From George Maponga in Masvingo
Two prominent Masvingo lawyers have been sucked in a fake housing stands scam, after they allegedly certified copies of forged documents that were used by three suspected fraudsters, to swindle desperate home-seekers of nearly $40 000. The suspects allegedly used forged identity documents and deeds of transfer and sold three non-existent housing stands in the posh Rhodene suburb of Masvingo to three unsuspecting home-seekers after placing an advertisement in the country’s daily newspaper The Herald.

Hilton Maponga (24), of Unit D, Seke in Chitungwiza, Fortunate Mushate (47) of Manyame Park in Chitungwiza and Lucia Chadokwa (38), of Mufakose in Harare, allegedly used forged documents to hoodwink two Masvingo lawyers, Mr Dumisani Hwacha of Hwacha and Ndlovu and Mr Collins Maboke of Ruvengo Maboke and Company into certifying forged documents and signing bogus agreements of sale.

Maponga, Mushate and Chadokwa were not asked to plead when they appeared before Masvingo provincial magistrate Mr Langton Ndokera facing fraud charges yesterday.

Mr Ndokera remanded the trio in custody to today when he is expected to make a ruling on their bail application.

Allegations against the three are that they connived with three others who are still at large and placed an advertisement in The Herald on May 16 this year falsely claiming that they were selling a residential stand in Rhodene suburb, Masvingo.

They alleged that the stand belonged to Elizabeth Chikwaka and one Mr Shelton Nyakuchena responded to the advert. He met the accused in Masvingo where he paid them $10 000 for the stand at Maboke and Ruvengo Legal Practitioners. The accused used a forged deed of transfer and identity card in the name of Chikwaka.

On June 25 the accused flighted another advert in The Herald advertising the sale of another stand valued at $15 000 in Rhodene suburb. Kufakunesu Panganai responded to the advert and met the trio at a Masvingo city bank where a fake agreement of sale was crafted before he paid the accused $10 000.

The accused promised to give Kufakunesu a deed of transfer upon settling the balance of $5 000 within seven days. A few days later, Kufakunesu tried to contact the accused to complete the transaction, but their phones were not reachable. On another date, the accused allegedly used the same modus operandi and advertised another non-existent housing stand in Rhodene suburb that was valued at $15 000.

Tinashe Mangwiro responded to the advert and met the accused at Hwacha and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners where an agreement of sale was drafted using forged documents.

Mangwiro allegedly paid the accused $10 000 with the balance of $5 000 set to be settled upon clearance by Zimra. On 28 August this year the accused again advertised the same stand in The Herald prompting Mangwiro to report to the police. Police detectives promptly set a trap for Maponga, Mushate and Chadokwa.

The accused were arrested in Masvingo after police detectives pretended to be buyers of their Rhodene stand. Upon their arrest, police recovered a fake deed of transfer and identity card in the name of Chikwaka. Ms Nancy Makuvise appeared for the state.