Saturday, 27 January 2018

EX SOLDIER : I WAS A CONMAN FOR YEARS

An ex-soldier who left the Air Force of Zimbabwe in 2010, was yesterday busted after masquerading as a serving security officer for more than five years pretending to have offices at the Gweru Government complex which houses the Midlands provincial heads.

Edwin Magodha (52) who left the AFZ as a Warrant Officer Class Two on medical grounds, had contacts of every Government provincial head, including that of the base commander at Thornhill Airbase and would use his well oiled network to dupe people seeking Government services including job seekers.

Sources at the complex said Magodha was such a consummate actor that senior civil servants in the province and politicians believed he had an office at the complex but strangely, no one had ever seen him in his office.

The self confessed con-artist, Magodha was busted by the Midlands Provincial Public Service Inspector, Mr Moses Moyo after he took his con-tricks to another level, extorting $100 from his own mother in-law and promising her a teaching job.

Worried that his bogus dealings had been discovered, Magodha tried to cover up for the embarrassment and quickly offered to write an affidavit before Mr Moyo pledging to stop his shenanigans.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Moyo said there was shock and disbelief when he took Magodha around the different departments at the Government complex where workers believed he was a senior Government security officer.

“He would pounce on people seeking services such as applying for passports before getting into offices with his fake army credentials and assist the persons to get whatever services they wanted and later demanded payment.

“Magodha had presented himself to many Government departments as a serving member of the Airforce of Zimbabwe saying he was a member of the reserve security operating in civilian attire and for all these years everyone seemed to have blindly believed him. They thought he had an office at the New Government Complex,” said Mr Moyo. He said he became suspicious when Magodha approached him saying he was looking for a teaching job for a relative.
Mr Moyo said Magodha had received $100 from his mother-in law and promised her a teaching job.

“He had been lucky in other departments where he was getting assistance as a third party and getting paid by the beneficiaries. After getting suspicious of his operations, I then set a trap and asked to meet his mother-in-law who also thought Magodha was still serving in the army. She revealed that Magodha had told her that I met him and told him that there was a teaching vacancy following the death of a teacher at some school.

“He extorted $100 from her and promised her the job. I then took time to interview Magodha and threatened to reveal his bogus dealings to all departments and he quickly offered to write an affidavit,” he said

Mr Moyo said even senior police officers thought Magodha was still a serving member.
In an interview before being handed over to the police at Gweru Central Police yesterday, Magodha confirmed that he was a con-artist who left the army long back. He said he left the service when he still enjoyed his work.

“I have been a soldier and I enjoyed it. I left the force as a Warrant Officer Class Two on medical grounds but I still enjoy my work and feel I am still in the force. I have never stopped waking up early in the morning to get into town to work as a soldier,” he said.

Magodha said he was just helping people to access Government services for no payment.
“I don’t extort. I just used my influence to assist people access Government services and at times these people would give me a token of appreciation.
Magodha is likely to face charges of impersonation and fraud. Chronicle

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