BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE A senior Central Intelligence Organisation officer Leonard Mutandwa appeared in court on Friday charged with fraud and extortion.
Mutandwa (48), the Divisional Intelligence Officer, was arrested alongside Charles Benjamin Chari (57) while another operative, Godknows Ganyani is allegedly on the run.
The complainant is a co-director of Welli-Will Industries Wilbert Makonese.
According to the police investigations, sometime in 2021, the complainant supplied goods worth US$392 000 to the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and received no payment.
Makonese was in dire need of the payment to enable him to repay a loan his company took from the Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe.
It is alleged that Mutandwa got wind of Makonese’s predicament, and hatched a plan to defraud and extort money from him.
Mutandwa and his co-accused offered to assist in the processing of the payment from the relevant ministry, but demanded kickbacks for their efforts.
Makonese succumbed to the pressure and gave the accused US$1 500.
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On November 22, the trio duped Makonese again after misrepresenting that the Office of the President wanted him to donate US$10 000 to an unnamed charity organisation.
The complainant gave the trio US$4 000 towards the donation.
The trio further demanded another US$500 claiming it was a facilitation fee.
Makonese was also forced to pay for Ganyani’s travel expenses from Chiredzi, including hotel bills totalling US$4 000 and US$450 to buy new clothes.
It was also alleged that on June 21 this year, the trio demanded US$30 000 from Makonese, claiming that it was a payment for having facilitated prompt payment of the money which he was owed by the ministry.
But Makonese had not received payment from the ministry.
The trio started threatening Makonese, saying he would face unspecified action if he failed to pay them the money.
Makonese became suspicious of the the trio’s claims and threats and realised that he had been duped.
He filed a police report and a trap was set, leading to the arrest of Mutandwa on June 22 at Makonese’s business premises where he had gone to collect some money.
Mutandwa then implicated Chari.