Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
A man masquerading as an official from the Lands Ministry was yesterday ordered to perform 360 hours of community service at Mvurwi Primary School after he was found guilty of forging Minister Anxious Masuka’s signature on a land allocation offer letter.
Bright Murandamaoko was initially jailed for two years when he appeared before magistrate Mrs Judith Taruvinga charged with fraud. Six months were suspended on the usual conditions, another eight months were suspended on condition he pays back the US$700 he stole from Rudolf Jingo and the final 10 months can be suspended once he does his 360 hours of community service satisfactorily.
Prosecutor Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti said sometime proved that in June this year Mr Jingo was introduced to Murandamaoko by Mr Ernest Muchenya, his neighbour. Murandamaoko then lied to Mr Jingo that he was an official from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and was able to arrange the allocation of land for Mr Jongo’s younger brother, Epthon, for a fee.
Jingo then applied for the 25 hectare farm in the name of his younger brother.
Murandamaoko then demanded US$2 000, of which three instalments were paid before Murandamaoko faked the required document with a forged Government letterhead.
He then forged Minister Masuku’s signature, handed over the letter to Mr Jingo and demanded the balance of US$500.
Mr Jingo became suspicious and approached the National Land Inspectorate offices for verification on August 18.
He then discovered that it was a fake offer letter and a trap was set for Murandamaoko who was arrested by officers from the National Land Inspectorate after receiving the marked US$500.
Murandamaoko then helped the officers recover five fake date stamps, one each for Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces and two for the Lands Ministry.