An untrustworthy Celebration Church devotee fraudulently sold a residential stand for US$20,000 which she co-owns with husband in the leafy suburbs of Fairbridge Park in Mutare and gave US$6,000 of the money to Celebration Church.
Martha Chiseko, was sentenced to a 10-month wholly suspended jail term when she appeared before Mutare magistrate, Mrs Annie Ndiraya last week. She was convicted on her own plea of guilty. The jail-term was suspended on condition that Chiseko restitutes the complainant, Tendai Dumbura, the outstanding balance of US$14,000.
Appearing for the State, Mr Walter Saunyama said Chiseko took advantage of her husband, Panganayi Kalongoma who is in South Africa and sold the stand.
"Chiseko and her husband, panganayi Kalongoma jointly own Stand number 7414 Fairbridge park, which is registered in their names under Deed Number 100406Al. In April, Chiseko placed an advert in the press saying she was selling the stand and this was done without the consent and knowledge of her husband. On 14 April, Chiseko was approached by Dumbura (34) who was intending to purchase the stand," he said.
Mr Saunyama said Chiseko showed Dumbura the title deeds of the stand which were registered in their names. Chiseko then went on to misrepresent to Dumbura that she was mandated by her husband to dispose the stand for $20,000.
"Dumbura was interested in buying the stand and they reached an agreement of sale. He released money to Chiseko through Magadza, Chinzamba and Partners legal Practitioners, facilitating the change of ownership," he added.
The court heard that Chiseko also made Dumbura to believe her husband would come on 14 May to sign the agreement of sale and facilitate the change of ownership. Dumbura told the court that he inquired from Chiseko on several times about the issue of having her husband ratify the agreement of sale, but Chiseko became evasive and made excuses for when her husband would come to complete the sale of the stand.
"This prompted me to seek details of her husband, whom I contacted in South Africa. He told me that he had not mandated Chiseko to sell the stand hence the change of ownership could not be effected," Dumbura revealed.
He then approached Chiseko to reverse the deal, but to no avail, prompting him to make a police report. It was established that US6,000 of the money that Chiseko received was given to Celebration Church where it was subsequently recovered. Chiseko also invested the other US$10,000 with Capital Base Savings and Credit Society in Mutare.
In her defence, Chiseko said she wanted to pay her utility bills since they had gone for four years without being settled.
"Your Worship, my net pay is US$280, so I am failing to meet the cost of my utility bills. I was intending to use part of the money to pay my water and electricity bills since it's been long without paying them," she explained.