A former clerk of court at the Harare Magistrates’ Court Tapiwa Pollycup Tonge has been slapped with a six-year jail term after pleading guilty to fraudulently cancelling an accused person’s warrant of arrest and forging property ownership documents.
Tonge will, however, serve a three-and-a-half year effective jail term after provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavi suspended two-and-a-half years of the sentence on condition Tonge pays restitution and behaves well over the next five years.
The court heard that on April 10 this year, the complainant, Patrick Mapuranga appeared in court on a charge of contravening the Copyrights Act and was issued with a warrant of arrest after defaulting on May 3.
Tonge then approached Mapuranga and misrepresented that he could assist in the cancellation of the warrant on condition he paid $70.
He then sourced a blank copy of the court extract and filled Mapuranga’s details indicating the warrant of arrest had been cancelled.
On May 14, police officers informed Mapuranga that he had an outstanding warrant of arrest which could land him in trouble if it was not cancelled by a magistrate.
The court heard Mapuranga approached Tonge who then went to Harare Magistrates Court where he again sourced another stamped copy of a court extract and wrote information to the effect that Mapuranga’s case had been completed by the magistrate and was fined $100.
On the other matter, Tonge was again approached by Stephen Majarira who needed advice on how to sell a Chegutu stand which was in his name and his late wife, Ruth Tsinakwadi.
The court heard Tonge again proceeded to his former work place where he sourced for a blank stamped letterhead and typed information to the effect that Majarira was the rightful owner of the stand.
The document, bearing Tonge’s name and address with the title clerk of court, was however intercepted by police, leading to his arrest.