By Richard Muponde
A GWANDA conman who was masquerading as a member of the Criminal Investigation Department detective and Central Intelligence Organisation operative and duped several people of their property using his “acquired ranks” was on Friday jailed for 30 months.
Robert Pearson Machingura (31) of 3054 Spitzkop North Extension had pleaded not guilty to impersonation but was convicted by provincial magistrate in charge, Mr Willard Maphios Moyo last week.
He was sentenced to 36 months in prison of which six months were conditionally suspended for five years.
Machingura will serve an effective 30 month jail term. In convicting him, Mr Moyo said there was overwhelming evidence against him.
“The State has managed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offence. Even the witnesses corroborated each other in all material fact. However, your evidence was riddled with inconsistencies. You are hereby found guilty as charged,” said Mr Moyo
The matter went on a full trial with Machingura refuting to have masqueraded as a CID or CIO operative.
“I don’t admit that I impersonated a CID or CIO officer. Yes, I agree that I went to the witnesses in my personal capacity and bought their property on credit and have not paid them. I never posed as an officer of any organisation,” said Machingura.
However, two of the three witnesses who testified in the case told the court that indeed when Machingura came to their shops to buy their property he introduced himself as a detective and one said he told her he was a CIO operative.
The prosecutor, Mr Ranic Tawanda Chinguruve told the court that on a date unknown but in December last year Machingura approached the first witness who was selling his wares outside Umkoko Supermarket in the Central Business District.
He introduced himself as a detective who was stationed at Gwanda Civil Court at the New Government complex. Machingura sweet talked him into selling him a Huawei mobile phone on credit promising to pay at the end of December. After taking the phone he disappeared.
The court heard that in February this year he went to the second victim at Oasis Hardware. He introduced himself as a CIO operative and purchased a foam rubber mattress on credit promising to pay at the end of the month but disappeared.
However, his luck ran out when he purchased a mobile phone from his targeted third victim and tried to use the same trick. However, the targeted victim discovered his trick before he had disappeared and reported him to police, leading to his arrest. Sunday News