A HARARE man, who posed as a clerk of court at Harare Magistrates’ Courts and duped people of cash will spend three-and-a-half years in jail. Tapiwa Tonge (38) was jointly charged with Elliot
Zvavamwe (26), a clerk of court at the same court.
He was convicted on his own plea of guilt to two counts of fraud and forgery while Zvavamwe denied the charges.
Zvavamwe was remanded in custody awaiting trial on June 1.
On the first count of fraud, magistrate Mr Reuben Mukavhi sentenced Tonge to three years in jail before suspending one year on condition of good behaviour.
A further six months were suspended on condition Tonge restitutes US$170 to the first complainant, Patrick Mapuranga on or before June 30.
On the second count, Tonge was slapped with three years behind bars and one year was suspended for five years on condition he does not commit a similar offence within that period.
This left Tonge with an effective three and half years to serve in jail.
Prosecutor Mr Sidom Chinzete told the court that on April 10 this year, Mapuranga came to court on copyright case CRB 379/12 and he met Tonge who told him he was a clerk of court.
He insisted that if Mapuranga needed any assistance in future he should phone him.
On May 3 this year, Mapuranga was issued with a warrant of arrest as he had mistaken court dates.
He came to court the following day and phoned Tonge asking him the procedure of cancelling a warrant of arrest.
They met in the clerks of court counter room before they went outside where Tonge asked Mapuranga to furnish him with his full names and age.
Mapuranga was told to wait outside as Tonge went back to the counter room. He returned half an hour later and told Mapuranga that the warrant needed a fine of US$70 for it to be cleared. Tonge was given the money and he went back inside and approached his accomplice Zvavamwe who gave him a blank court extract
paper, which he stamped.
Tonge then filled the court extract with information that Mapuranga’s warrant of arrest had been cancelled and that he was to pay a fine US$100 for the copyright offence. The information was false.
After an hour Tonge went to Mapuranga and gave him the court extract. Mapuranga was later phoned by the police informing him that he had an outstanding warrant of arrest.
Mapuranga then phoned Tonge and told him what the police had said.
The two agreed to meet at Harare Magistrates Court where Mapuranga was given another court extract that had the same information.
Tonge told Mapuranga that the police were no longer going to bother him.
On the second count of forgery Stephen Majairira met Tonge at the court and asked him about the procedures of selling a stand that was in his name and his late wife’s name.
The court heard that Tonge asked for the relevant papers and he was given photocopies.
Tonge later approached Zvavamwe and asked for a blank sheet of paper with a stamp.
He made photocopies of the stamped sheet labelled Annexure C and after that he typed false information stating that it was confirmation that Majairira was the rightful owner of the property.
He printed his name addressing himself as a clerk of court and signed on the date stamps.
Tonge was arrested before he could deliver the documents to Majairira.