A MARONDERA man, who masqueraded as a lawyer before selling a house allocated in a deceased estate, has been convicted of theft and forgery. Elijah Machemba (59) was, however, acquitted of fraud charges by magistrate Ms Josephine Sunday. Ms
Sunday remanded Machembe, who is out of custody on US$200 bail, to May 9, 2012 for sentencing.
The State led by prosecutor Ms Rangarirai Gurupira alleged that Machembe misrepresented to Ms Mary Ajibu in 2004 that he was a lawyer and could help her evict her stepbrother Danny Ajibu from the house in Yellow City.
The house had been left in the custody of Mr Fasilo Ajibu by his late brother in 2001.
Mr Fasilo Ajibu went to Malawi in 2003 leaving the house in the care of his two sisters Mary and Winnie.
Ms Gurupira told the court that Machemba was given Z$60 000 by Mary Ajibu to process the eviction order.
He invited Ms Ajibu to Dombotombo Housing Department.
Machemba misrepresented to her that she was to sign an eviction order, yet it was a session form for change of ownership. The eviction of Danny was never done and frantic efforts to locate Machemba were in vain.
Mary Ajibu eventually went to the Housing Department and was told the house had been sold.
Mary was also told that she had signed a cession form authorising the sale of the house. Police were called leading to Machemba’s arrest.
Fake documents including a General Power of Attorney, cession form and agreement of sale were produced in court as evidence. The current value of the house is
US$18 000, and nothing was recovered.
The buyer of the house, Ms Kethokile Washaya testified that Machemba told her he was selling the house on behalf of his sister. Ms Sunday said she had not deduced elements of fraud in the case.
“The inducing by accused for complainant to sign the Power of Attorney amounts to forgery, not fraud.
“Theft can be deduced from the transaction that later took place when the house was sold,” said Ms Sunday.
Mr Batanai Pesanai of IEG Musimbe and Partners is representing Machemba.