By Tendai Kamhungira
HARARE – A man accused of swindling former Zimbabwe captain and Blackburn Rovers striker Benjani Mwaruwari striker out of 100 000 rands has appeared before the magistrate court. The court heard that 25-year-old Leeroy Waguta of Harare approached Mwaruwari’s legal representative in South Africa last November claiming he had been instructed by the ₤35 000-a-week star to get some money from him.
Waguta, who is now facing fraud charges, was not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Shane Kanobera on Thursday. Prosecutor Vernancia Mtake told the court that Waguta used false representation when he e-mailed Benjani’s representative, claiming that the footballer had given him permission to have R100 000 transferred into his personal account.
Mwaruwari’s representative, who manages the Bulawayo-born star’s estates in South Africa, took Waguta’s word and made the transfer. In another rip-off in the same month, Waguta allegedly approached a friend of Mwaruwari under the false impression he had been sent by the footballer to get some money.
The friend is said to have given Waguta US$5 000 on the undertaking that Mwaruwari would pay him back. The swindle came to light when the friend, who was not identified, demanded his money from Mwaruwari. Mwaruwari professed ignorance, leading a police report and Waguta’s arrest. Magistrate Kubonera ordered Waguta to deposit US$100 with the clerk of court and to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions. He is back in court on 23 June.
Mwaruwari is Zimbabwe’s highest paid sports star with an annual salary of US$3,405,584.00 (£2,065,611.32 or R22,603,110.71), according to a United States sports magazine. The former Auxerre, Portsmouth and Manchester City striker earned US$283,798.66 (£172,134.27 or R1,883,592.55) per month last year, or US$70,949.66 (£43,033.56 or R470,898.13) per week. Daily News
To help maintain editorial independence Nehanda Radio relies on donations from readers like you. No donation is too small or too big. Help by donating to fund our operations.