By Daniel Nemukuyu
A HARARE businessman allegedly duped the High Court into granting him a decree of divorce after forging identity particulars of his wife who was serving a prison term in China.
Rochford Munjoma, who operates service stations and some transport businesses in Harare, is alleged to have connived with another woman who posed as his wife before issuing summons for divorce.
The High Court granted a divorce order based on the particulars presented by Munjoma, resulting in him getting the bulk of the property.
Official records show that on November 20 2009 when the divorce order was granted by Justice Elfas Chitakunye, Mrs Febby Christina Munjoma (nee Ushamba) was in a Chinese prison serving a five-year term.
A lawyer Mr Blessing Nyamwanza, who was working for J Mambara and Partners, handled the divorce case and the order was granted unopposed. Mrs Munjoma was jailed from 2006 to 2011 and was deported to Zimbabwe after finishing her sentence and rsumed life with her husband.
She found the divorce documents and the order by Justice Chitakunye early this year, prompting her to make a report to the police. Munjoma now stands accused of fraud and his wife has separately instituted civil proceedings at the High Court to nullify the divorce proceedings and the order.
In the application filed by Mr Obert Mawadze and Mr Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase and Manase law firm, Mrs Munjoma denies ever filing any divorce proceedings at the High Court and accuses another woman of impersonating her and forging her signature “though very badly”.
“I never instructed or appeared before any legal practitioner, relative or friend to issue out divorce processes for and on my behalf when I was in China between October 7 2006 and December 6 2011.”
According to the dubious consent paper that was used in the granting of the divorce order, the fake Mrs Munjoma was granted custody of the two minor children and Munjoma was ordered to pay monthly maintenance of US$100 for each of the children.
On property, it was indicated that the couple never acquired property and there was nothing to share when in fact, the real Mrs Munjoma claims they had several properties in Borrowdale Brooke, buses and lorries.
Mr Nyamwanza, who is now operating his own law firm Nyamwanza and Partners early this month deposed an affidavit confirming that he handled the case and that Munjoma approached him with a woman he identified as his wife.
He said the two gave an impression that they were in agreement and that the matter was set down on the unopposed roll when the divorce was granted. Mr Nyamwanza said that the woman who came to his office with Munjoma was different from the real Mrs Munjoma.
Mr Munjoma, through his lawyers Nyamayaro Makanza and Bakasa, has filed a notice of opposition arguing that he never instituted the divorce proceedings, but that he only responded after receiving summons.
He indicated that his marriage was already in shambles before the divorce because his wife was involved in illegal deals that later landed her in jail. Mr Munjoma stated that Mrs Munjoma was the one who deserted him and the children and that he never had her impersonated. The Herald