Police in the Midlands this week bust a racket in which a former Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association (Zinatha) licensing inspector fraudulently licensed faith and traditional healers pocketing thousands of dollars in the process.
The suspected bogus licence inspector, John Muchena, who was arrested by the police on Thursday, reportedly forced the unlicensed faith and traditional healers to part with $60 each.
Although details are still sketchy, police said indications were the amounts ran into thousands of dollars.
Criminal Investigation Department national spokesperson Detective Inspector Augustine Zimbili confirmed police arrested Muchena (66) of Chief Chiundura in Gweru District for allegedly swindling traditional healers and prophets through fake licences.
“We arrested Muchena in Shurugwi where he is alleged to have been operating from. We are holding him at Shurugwi Police Station and he is assisting us in our investigations,” said Zimbili.
Muchena was arrested on Tuesday after police detectives got wind of the alleged scam.
“We understand Muchena was once employed by the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association in collaboration with the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC) as a licensing inspector,” said Zimbili.
“He was later allegedly dismissed.”
Zimbili added: “He allegedly went around in the area identifying unregistered faith and traditional healers. It is alleged he would ask them to produce their Zinatha operating licences which some of them could not produce.”
Muchena would allegedly threaten to arrest them if they did not pay $60. TMPC Midlands chairman Fanuel Nyashanu told NewsDay Muchena might have duplicated the official documents which he used to dupe the healers.
“The reports we got are that about 60 people fell victim to Muchena’s tricks in Shurugwi alone,” said Nyashanu.