HomeNewsDeeds Office, legal firm lose $22 000 in syndicate scam

Deeds Office, legal firm lose $22 000 in syndicate scam

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The Surveyor-General’s Office Registrar of Deeds Office and a city law firm, Danziger and Partners, could have lost $22 000 through a well-orchestrated scam by a suspected syndicate involving employees of both organisations.

The law firm employees working in cahoots with their colleagues from the Surveyor-General’s Office would charge clients seeking to obtain title deeds for their properties and convert the cash to their own use before handing them forged documents.

Three suspects appeared separately before Bulawayo magistrate Ndumo Masuku on Friday for allegedly defrauding their employers of $22 020.

But Richard Sengwe (32), Peter Zanguzangu (36) and Farai Chidanguro (34) denied the fraud charge when they appeared separately in court.

Sengwe and Chidanguro were granted $50 bail each and remanded to July 15 for continuation of trial while Zanguzangu was remanded to July 27 on $500 bail.

Sengwe, a clerk at the Registrar of Deeds allegedly connived with Charlton Mbewe, who is still at large, and Zanguzangu to defraud Danziger and Partners.

Zanguzangu, who was a ledger clerk at the law firm, was given $6 400 to pay for stamp duty at the Deeds Office. The three allegedly converted the money to their own use.

Sengwe later allegedly stole two blank receipts from his workplace and gave them to Charlton Mbewe to process title deeds at the Deeds Office on the pretext the receipts indicated payment for the service.

Zanguzangu then took the two alleged fraudulent receipts to the law firm and presented them as proof of payment.

Sengwe was arrested on June 29 this year after discovery of the offence.

Between January 3 and February 17 this year, Zanguzangu allegedly received $14 800 from the law firm and shared the proceeds with his co-accused.

They later made fake receipts and title deeds to cover up the offence. A follow-up on the receipts was made with the Deeds Office which proved they were not in the system and the transfers were not registered.
This led to Zanguzangu’s arrest.

In September last year, Chidanguro, an examiner with the Ministry of Justice allegedly diverted $820 meant for title deed transfers to Joseph Ncube who had bought a house from Gamuchirai Madondo. The law firm was the executor of the transfers.

He later forged a signature of the Registrar of Deeds and issued a fake receipt to Ncube. He further issued fake title deed number 910/2010 carrying the client’s name.

The offence was discovered when the client sought to verify the authenticity of his deeds.

It was established there was no declaration form in the file and the receipt number in respect of cash paid did not exist.

Chidanguro later told the Registrar of Deeds in Bulawayo he was still holding onto the declaration forms, but had used the money Ncube had paid.

This led to his arrest.

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