KWEKWE General Hospital nurse, Renica Chakabvapasi, has been slapped with a five-year jail term following her conviction on two counts of defrauding a funeral benefits cash fund in a case where she also stands accused of killing terminally-ill patients under her care in order to cash in on their benefits.
Provincial magistrate Ngoni Nduna found Chakabvapasi guilty of defrauding Old Mutual of $10 000 in a scam in which she fraudulently opened funeral cash benefit policy accounts for two terminally-ill patients, who she allegedly targeted at the hospital.
Nduna found Chakabvapasi guilty on two counts, which have so far been brought before him, and sentenced her to two-and-a-half years in jail on each count. The court suspended two years of the sentence on condition that she refunds $10 000 to Old Mutual.
In passing sentence, Nduna said Chakabvapasi’s moral blameworthiness was high, especially seeing that she took an oath to save lives, but had deviated.
“Accused interacted with victims as a concerned nurse, yet was betting on their lives. Her conduct has thrown the entirety of the nursing profession into severe disrepute,” he said.
Nduna also said there was clear evidence that Chakabvapasi could have caused the death of her victims, especially considering evidence given by the deceased’s relatives.
“One witness stated that upon being attended to by accused, the deceased’s health deteriorated and never recovered again,” the magistrate said.
The court said it was shocked that Chakabvapasi did not even show remorse, yet her actions had traumatised the victims’ relatives.
“The accused is a first offender. This method of fraud is unique. It touches on morality, honesty and integrity, therefore, the accused’s case is bad.
Chakabvapasi and her lover, Godwin Mugwangi, who is on the run, face a murder charge and five more counts of fraud involving $5 000 each. Simeleni Nkala appeared for the State. Newsday