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Two notorious Chitungwiza stand fraudsters on the run after skipping bail

By Prosper Dembedza

Two notorious Chitungwiza fraudsters who allegedly sold other people’s land using fake identity cards face arrest on sight after they jumped bail and failed to turn up for their trial on charges of defrauding buyers of US$52 000.

Emmerson Chigonyati (left) and Enoss Gwangwadza
Emmerson Chigonyati (left) and Enoss Gwangwadza

The warrant of arrest for Emmerson Chigonyati (46) and Enoss Gwangwadza (23) was issued by Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti yesterday after they failed to appear in court for trial.

The duo was out on $5 000 bail each.

It is alleged that sometime in June this year the two connived with two others to defraud home-seekers and they flighted an advert in The Herald for the sale of a Mandara stand.

The court heard that the complainant’s wife phoned and spoke to someone who misrepresented himself as Jupiter Charles Punungwe and gave her directions to the stand and she viewed it and developed an interest. It is the State’s case that the two parties agreed on a purchase price of US$35 000.

The woman’s husband sold their property in Chitungwiza and advised the suspects that they were ready to purchase the stand.

The accused allegedly misrepresented that they lived in Chivhu and on August 8 they invited the complainant and his wife there to make the payments.

The court heard that Chigonyati misrepresented to the complainant that he was Punungwe, the owner of the stand, and produced a metal identification card bearing that name. It is alleged that Gwangwadza identified himself as Sam Mugari, nephew to Chigonyati, and produced a plastic identity card bearing that name.

The accused persons allegedly produced a fraudulent deed of transfer number 0008695/2001 in the name of Punungwe and convinced the complainant that he was buying a genuine stand.

The court heard that the complainant paid US$32 000 to Chigonyati, resulting in the signing of an agreement of sale.

After the payment the complainant asked for a group photo to be taken in the company of the accused persons, which he took using his cellphone.

The court heard that on August 10 and 11 the complainant made some deliveries of building materials to the stand and also invited a surveyor to find a site to drill a borehole. A neighbour approached the complainant and informed him that the owner of the stand was residing in South Africa and the stand was not for sale.

It is alleged that the complainant tried to call the accused persons to no avail, prompting him to report the matter to the police. The police used the group photo to track down the two accused persons leading to their arrest.

The court heard that Chigonyati was arrested at Chikwanha in Chitungwiza while driving an unregistered Toyota Corolla, which is suspected to have been bought from the proceeds of the crime.

The motor vehicle was searched and some identity cards belonging to different people and several SIM cards believed to be used to call victims were recovered.

The two used the same modus operandi and allegedly defrauded another unsuspecting home seeker of US$30 000. The Herald.