Bogus lawyer in trouble over US$120k stand scam

Source: Bogus lawyer in trouble over US$120k stand scam – NewsDay Zimbabwe

FRAUDSTER Michael Kawanzaruwa who misrepresented himself as a lawyer to a client is in trouble over a US$120 000 stand scam.

Kawanzaruwa pretended that he was one of the partners at Sengwe Law Chambers and was the legitimate owner of a stand that he was selling for US$120 000.

He now faces several fraud charges, but is seeking acquittal at the High Court.  However, Justice Fatima Chakapamambo Matthews ruled that he should go on trial to defend himself.

Kawanzaruwa had challenged magistrate Isheunesu Matova’s decision to dismiss his application for discharge saying that the ruling must be set aside.

He had asked to be discharged and acquitted at the close of the state case.

Allegations are that on June 28, 2019 at Sengwe  Law chambers, Kawanzaruwa  and three others misrepresented to their client Kudakwashe  Gapara, that William  Bertram Gibbons who is the second accused in their pending criminal case was Jason David Maple, the legitimate owner of stand number 103 Colray Township in Harare.  He said the stand was being sold for US$120 000.

The misrepresentation caused Gapara to pay US$55 000 for the stand and the money was allegedly deposited at Sengwe Law Chambers.

Kawanzaruwa denied the allegations, but five witnesses gave strong evidence against him resulting in magistrate Isheanesu Matova dismissing his application for discharge at the close of the state case.

High Court judge, Justice Maxwell dismissed his appeal stating that he did not file any opposing papers, which means that he is bound by the lower court’s decision.

The magistrate had ruled that Kawanzaruwa was the driving force behind the alleged fraud, hence must proceed to trial.

Kawanzaruwa was even involved in money counting at Sengwe Law Chambers at the time the deposit was paid.

Gapara later learned that all the money that he had paid was never given to the Sengwe partners although they had counted the money while in Gibbons’ office.

“The record of proceedings from the trial court shows that there is a prima facie case that was reached after an assessment of evidence. Kawanzaruwa expressed disagreement with the court aquo findings and sought to un-procedurally question the correctness or otherwise of the decision by way of a review.

“I find nothing outward, un-procedural and injudicious displayed to warrant interference with the proceedings in the court aquo.  Application for review is baseless and must fail,” ruled the judge.

Justice Maxwell ruled that Kawanzaruwa’s case must proceed to the defence case as directed by Matova.

Kawanzaruwa was in 2015 arrested and taken to court over similar allegations.

He was jointly charged with Innocent Munyani and Tonderai Chakacha in a $365 000 (local currency) botched house deal.

In 2015 he was also accused of defrauding home-seekers of $155 000.