By Andile Tshuma
A 34-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo con artist posed as a Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officer and allegedly duped four people of $700.
Chris Mitsho Dube of New Luveve suburb allegedly convinced even his wife of two years that he worked at the VID.
He appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Stephen Ndhlovu charged with fraud.
He pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud and the magistrate remanded him in custody to January 3 for continuation of trial.
Prosecuting, Mr Brian Nkala said Dube was reported by four of the many people that he has defrauded, leading to his arrest.
On the first count, he allegedly told a Lupane State University student, Mr Nowell Mpofu, that he could process a driver’s licence for him without going through the normal channels.
“On December 23 this year, at Luveve suburb, the accused person approached the complainant and indicated that he was a VID officer. He said he could acquire a driver’s licence for the complainant in his absence. He asked for a processing fee of $200,” said Mr Nkala.
The complainant later discovered that he was not a VID employee and reported the matter to the police.
The money was not recovered.
On the second count, Dube approached Ms Sheila Ncube of Emakhandeni suburb sometime in October and told her that he had acquired a food caravan at work and was renting it out.
“The accused person approached the complainant on October 18 and misrepresented that he had a food caravan to let at Entumbane complex. Ms Ncube made a payment of $60 and they agreed to meet at the complex,” said the prosecutor.
A week later Dube switched off his phone and avoided Ncube, who then proceeded to report the matter to the police. The money was not recovered.
In another case, Dube misrepresented to a Nust student Ms Nicola Sibanda that he could get her a driver’s licence in her absence. He allegedly said he was a VID officer stationed in Bulawayo.
Mr Nkala said: “The accused person demanded the complaint’s provisional licence and an initial payment of $50.”
The court heard that Sibanda was later advised that Dube was not a VID employee and she reported him to the police.
Dube was arrested when he had already used the money and groceries worth $40 were recovered.
On the fourth count, Dube allegedly lied to Mr Puluso Dube, a pastor who resides in Gwabalanda suburb, that he was selling an auctioned Honda Fit for $500. He received a down payment of $310 from Dube before he disappeared.
After failing to contact Dube, the pastor filed a police report.
Cases of bogus VID officers are on the increase as some people seek shortcuts to get driver’s licences.
In August, police arrested Maxwell Mutsikiwa (40) a general hand at the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) Victoria Falls after he issued counterfeit certificates of competence to 30 people whom he charged $300 each. The Chronicle