Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A BULAWAYO man ganged up with two bogus estate agents who are still at large and allegedly defrauded a teacher of R470 000 after “selling” him a house that did not belong to them.
George Witiman Phiri (68), a business consultant residing in Nketa 7 suburb allegedly connived with Charles Mawire and Ronald Ndebele and forged title deeds to swindle Mr Gilbert Ncube of his money after purporting to be selling a house at Bulawayo’s Queenspark suburb on behalf of their client.
Phiri appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Ms Adelaide Mbeure, facing fraud charges.He was remanded out of custody to December 10 on $100 bail.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said sometime in September this year, Mr Ncube approached Phiri looking for a house to buy and the accused person offered to assist him.
The court heard that Phiri then approached Mawire and Ndebele and they allegedly teamed up and hatched a plan to defraud the complainant.
“The accused person phoned the complainant and indicated to him that they had found a house in Queenspark suburb which was for sale. He produced fake title deeds for the property, a power of attorney which was authorising Ndebele to sell the house as well as fake identity documents for Irene Tariro Mpofu and Samuel Mpofu, the registered owners of the house,” said Mr Dlodlo.
On October 15, Mr Ncube made a down payment of R280 000 before settling the balance of R190 000 two days later.The court heard that the complainant and the accused person made an arrangement to visit the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) offices to sign the documents in the presence of the owners of the house.
The owners of the house failed to avail themselves and Phiri postponed the meeting to a later date.On the second appointment, the owners of the house did not come and when Phiri tried to come up with some excuses, Mr Ncube got suspicious.
He reported the matter to the police leading to Phiri’s arrest. It was later discovered that the documents that were used were not genuine.
Mr Ncube was prejudiced of R470 000 and only R10 000 was recovered from the accused person.In his warned and cautioned statement, Phiri said he was only trying to assist the complainant in good faith when they later realised that they had been duped by Ndebele and Mawire.
“I deny the charges that are being levelled against me. I was only approached by the complainant who was looking for a house to buy. I then met Mawire who was in the company of Ndebele and they indicated to me that they were selling a house. Ndebele was in possession of a power of attorney, copies of IDs and the title deeds to the house and basing on that I recommended the sale,” he said. — @mashnets