Clerk in $14 000 title deeds scam

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A lodging clerk with one of the leading law firms in Bulawayo has been arrested and remanded in custody for alleged fraud involving title deeds worth more than $14 000.

Peter Nyamayaro Zanguzangu (36) an employee of Danziger and Partners Legal Practitioners allegedly connived with officials at the Registrar of Deeds Office and stole more than $14 000 meant for deeds transfers and gave fake title deeds to clients.

Zanguzangu was responsible for payment of stamp duty fees at the Deeds office to effect transfers on sold properties.

He would receive the money from the law firm’s accounts’ department for the transfer of different clients’ properties from the previous owners.

The process was that whenever there were files for which property transfers were to be made after sale together with mortgage bond payment, Zanguzangu had to complete a lodge sheet and calculate the amount to be paid to the Deeds Office.

Thereafter he would submit the files to the accountant, who in turn would give him cash to go and pay for the transfers.

The court heard that on January 3, Zanguzangu was given $2 050 by the accountant for transfer of a client’s property.

Three days later he was given another $3 170 for the same purpose, but did not submit proof of payment.

He was subsequently given amounts with a combined value of $14 800 for the transfer of clients’ properties up to 14 February, but without providing proof of payment to the company as per procedure.

It is alleged Zanguzangu connived with Charltorn Mbewe and Farai Chidanguro, officials at the Deeds Office who are still at large, and converted the money to their own use.

To cover up the offence, Zanguzangu and his alleged accomplices manufactured fake receipts which purported to be from the Deeds Office and fake title deeds for the clients’ files.

Zanguzangu then took the counterfeit title deeds to the office with the intention of having them issued to clients. The title deeds had forged signatures of the Registrar of Deeds on them.

However, the offence came to light when a follow-up was made with the Deeds Office and it was discovered that all of them were not in the system.

A report was made to the police, leading to Zanguzangu’s arrest.

Zanguzangu was not asked to plead when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ndumo Masuku.

He was remanded in custody to April 26. Miss Merilyn Muchina appeared for the state.