Friday, 19 March 2021

DIASPORAN CONNED OF US$53K HOUSE MONEY IN BYO

A 32-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo received US$53 000 to buy a house for her diaspora-based friend in the eastern suburbs, allegedly bought herself a house in the high-density suburbs and two cars with the money.

Annastancia Sibanda of 3 Clark Suburb Road in Bulawayo allegedly forged an agreement of sale, took a picture of a random house in Queenspark and sent it to her friend, Mary Matewele, saying she had fulfilled her assignment. 

Sibanda, a court heard, bought herself a house in New Magwegwe for US$20 000, a Toyota land cruiser and a Nissan Tilda whose values were not mentioned in court.

As if this was not enough, Sibanda told her friend there was a shortfall of US$12 000 on the house that had to be settled in due course.

Sibanda pleaded guilty to one count of fraud before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Rachel, who granted her $20 000 bail. She will appear in court on March 30.

The State did not oppose bail as Ms Matewele is in the UK and it is not clear when she will return to the country.

Ms Mukanga ruled that Sibanda must report every Friday at CID Commercial Crimes in the Northern Region.

She was ordered to continue residing at her given address as part of her bail conditions and not to interfere with State witnesses until the matter was finalised. Sibanda’s lawyer, Mr Task Vhiki, consented to the bail conditions.

Prosecuting, Mr Terence Chakabuda said on an unknown date but sometimes in November 2020, Ms Matewele contacted Sibanda instructing her to look for a house on sale and buy it on behalf of her.

“Annastancia later contacted Ms Matewele informing her that she had found the house in Queenspark East for US$65 000. She instructed Ms Matewele to send the money. Ms Matewele sent a total amount of US$53 000 on different occasions,” said Mr Chakabuda.

The court heard that instead of purchasing the said property, Sibanda entered into an agreement of sale with Tembinkosi Wenha and purchased a house at US$20 000 in New Magwegwe for herself. 

The State alleged that Annastancia went on to buy two vehicles, a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Nissan Tilda. 

“To conceal the offence, Annastancia allegedly sent a picture of a fake agreement of sale claiming to have bought the house number 44 Angsely Road Queenspark on behalf of Ms Matewele from Thembinkosi Mpofu while indicating his mobile number. She further indicated that US$12 00 was outstanding,” added Mr Chakabuda.

The scam came to light when Ms Matewele contacted the seller Mr Mpofu who denied having sold his property to her.

She discovered that she had received a fraudulent agreement of sale and she made a police report through her son Tshepo leading to Sibanda’s arrest.

The complainant suffered an actual prejudice of US$53 000 and nothing was recovered. Herald

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