A Manicaland environmental officer and an alleged accomplice have appeared in court facing fraud charges after they allegedly conned at least 16 aspiring nurses by claiming they could pull strings to have them admitted at various training institutions in the province for a fee.
Emmanuel Mufambanhando (55) is based at Mutare Provincial Hospital as the provincial environmental officer while his alleged accomplice Thulani Kusakara (29) misrepresented herself as a provincial health official.
The pair is alleged to have hatched a plan to defraud aspiring nurses in Mutare by demanding cash ranging from $300 to $600 under the pretext that they would bribe the Provincial Medical Director and the Medical Superintendent to fast-track their enrolment.
They allegedly defrauded them of a total of $6 020.
The two pleaded not guilty to fraud charges when they appeared before Mutare magistrate Billiard Musakwa and were remanded in custody to Tuesday for bail hearing.
The State, led by Fletcher Karombe, presented that over the period from March to September 6, the pair approached aspiring nurses under the pretext they would facilitate their enrolment as nurses at Mutare Provincial Hospital, Mt Selinda Hospital and Bonda Hospital. Kusakara is alleged to have directly handled the matter though she implicated senior health officials when she was arrested.
The State alleges Kusakara demanded cash or ordered the complainants to deposit the money into her Standard Chartered and Kingdom bank accounts.
She then gave the complainants various dates to start their enrolment at the said nursing training institutions. The offence came to light when one of the duped aspirants became suspicious after the dates he was given had passed. He reported the matter to the police who then set up a trap, leading to the arrest of the two.