Ivan Zhakata Herald Reporter
An employee of the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company (ZETDC) allegedly killed an unknown man and faked his own death before swindling Old Mutual Funeral Services of $70 000, a Harare Magistrates’ Court has heard.
David Garudza yesterday appeared before magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo facing charges of murder, fraud and unlawful possession of a firearm. He will be back in court on Friday after the court granted the police a warrant of further detention to allow for the completion of investigations.
The court heard that between March 11 and June 11 last year, Garudza – who was employed by ZETDC as a meter reader – opened an Old Mutual Funeral Benefit Plan with a cover of $70 000. He allegedly listed his wife, Primrose Jecha (22) and his two children as beneficiaries..
Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleges that on July 12 the same year Garudza, in the company of his two brothers – Bernard and Brian, Obert Chingaipe and Alex Mhlanga – killed an unknown male adult in Mutare and took his corpse using a hired vehicle to their rural home in Rusape.
On arrival at Takunda Dam in Odzi, Mutare, it is alleged that Garudza placed the body of the deceased in the driver’s seat before pushing the car off the road purporting that it had been involved in an accident.
He later burned the vehicle leaving the corpse burnt beyond recognition, the court heard.
Jecha, acting on Garudza’s instructions, then went to Old Mutual in Mutare and claimed that her husband died in a traffic accident near Takunda Dam before claiming the cover.
According to State papers, Jecha was carrying her husband’s policy documents, a certified copy of Garudza’s death certificate, a police traffic accident report, copies of her and Garudza’s identity cards and proof of residence.
On February, 23 this year, Jecha was given $70 000 by Old Mutual as cover for her husband’s death.
On October 5, the police acting on a tip-off intercepted Garudza at Simon Muzenda (Fourth Street) bus terminus in Harare and arrested him.
He was found in possession of a 9mm Star pistol loaded with a magazine of two rounds.
Meanwhile, a Harare man who stole a motor vehicle after posing as Sulumani Chimbetu’s Orchestra Dendera Kings band member has been jailed for three years.
The magistrate, Ms Vongai Muchuchuti, yesterday sentenced Peter Takawira (30) to three years in prison.
Eight months were suspended on good behaviour leaving him with an effective 28 months.
Prosecutor Rodger Gaiko proved that on February 27 last year George Mirimi (33) was on duty driving a Toyota Raum at Chikwanha Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
Takawira allegedly introduced himself as Dargie Engineer, a singer with Sulumani’s band.
He then hired Mirimi to Ziko Shopping Centre in Seke after he lied that he wanted to book a slot for the band’s show.
Mirimi charged him $15 for the service which he paid for.
Upon arrival at Ziko Shopping Centre, Takawira started buying him beer.
They later left for Zengeza 2 Shopping Centre with Takawira behind the wheel as Mirimi had gained his trust. Upon arrival, Takawira handed Mirimi a $2 note to buy more beer from a nearby bottle store.
Takawira then sped off the moment Mirimi entered the bottle store. On realising that his car had been stolen, Mirimi reported to the police leading to Takawira’s arrest.
The motor vehicle was valued at $4 500.