A ZIMBABWEAN based in South Africa lost $25 000 to a syndicate that allegedly duped her into building a house on a stand illegally acquired from the Bulawayo City Council.
By SILAS NKALA
Sithabile Pretty Sibanda was made to pay $15 000 for the housing stand before appointing one of the alleged conman to oversee the construction of the house in 2014.
The alleged scam was revealed yesterday when Thandiwe Ncube (50), Trust Honest Nhopi (21), Maritha Manyuka (33) — all from Cowdry Park — and Njabulo Sizo Sibanda (29) of Nkulumane 5 appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa facing fraud charges.
Muchemwa remanded the four to April 15 for judgment after the State closed its case. Prosecutor Munyonga Kuvarega had told the court that sometime in September last year, Sibanda (33) called Ncube seeking help to buy a residential stand.
Ncube advised Sibanda to come home claiming stands were available for people on the council’s housing waiting list.
The victim was allegedly taken to Nhopi by Ncube and was convinced to part with $15 000 to pay for the stand. Nhopi allegedly gave Ncube R3 000 as “token of appreciation”.
According to the prosecutors, Nhopi roped in Sizo Sibanda, a former council employee to provide fraudulent documents from the local authority that made the deal appear above board.
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Ncube shared the remaining money with Manyuka who is alleged to have masterminded the scam.
Sibanda went on to develop the stand and appointed Nhopi to oversee the construction before she returned to South Africa.
However, Sibanda decided to check on the authenticity of the deal after a conversation with a friend. She checked with council and was told that the stand was non-existent. Only R11 000 and $400 were recovered.