Botswana-based film-maker Sam Mapingire has accused his former partner, Tinashe Jonas, of being a conman who steals from other people in the name of movie-making after allegedly defrauding him of P100 000 (US$14 285).
Mapingire, who was duped by Jonas into making him co-director of his company, Vula Vula Entertainment, in Botswana, told NewsDay the latter abused his charity.
“When I met him he had nothing but a little plastic bag and I took him into my house because he was my fellow countryman. I tried to help him stand on his feet through the project because he seemed to have good ideas,” said Mapingire, who was in the country on Tuesday.
Mapingire said Jonas claimed to have been deserted by his relatives and had nowhere else to go.
Upon his return to Zimbabwe, Jonas went on to establish his own company, Episode 10, which recently held auditions for potential actors for the forthcoming movie, Ma-One.
The successful 112 candidates, from the initial 460, were asked – through text messages sent on their phones – to pay US$10 each for what Jonas later said was for their training and grooming.
Mapingire said while in partnership with Jonas, during which they held auditions for a movie called Monate, the latter approached the successful candidates nicodemously and asked them to pay P100 (US$14) each.
Mapingire said Jonas moved around with a compact disc with 10 tracks which he claims to be the soundtracks of the movie.
When Jonas first came to NewsDay after his return to Zimbabwe, he“produced” the same CD – which he had repackaged – and claimed it was the soundtrack for the Zimbabwe movie, Ma-One.
“I invested at least P100 000 in this guy who tried to con me and when he left my house he carried my bed and some of my clothes,” Mapingire fumed.
Jonas, however, denied the allegations, insisting that Mapingire, who had been his friend since 1994, was just incensed by their misunderstanding during the shooting of Monate.
“He wanted to make me his worker and when I moved out of his place to a lodge where my girlfriend was the manager he would come with some men to threaten me,” said Jonas.
He said he was not a conman and the only reason he used the same soundtrack disc was that the earlier movie was his too.
Jonas also said he did not steal any money, but the company required P50 ($7) from each actor for their role as an agency.
They, however, later dropped the idea after learning that a similar incident had occurred in Botswana before, involving alleged Zimbabwean conmen.