A magistrate court has directed a Harare man to approach the Civil Court after discovering he and another man were paying maintenance for the same child.
Kenias Chizema, 46, unearthed his ex-wife Stella Kwanisai’s alleged fraudulent misconduct after he had been summoned before Harare magistrate Tracy Muzondo over $3 538 maintenance arrears.
Chizema then made an application for discharge of the maintenance order after he discovered that he has been duped into making the payments.
Chizema was being charged with defaulting payment of maintenance.
Muzondo ruled that her court had no jurisdiction to terminate the maintenance order passed by the Civil Court saying she would only determine the criminal issues brought before her.
“The accused person was dragged to this court by the complainant after she realised that her fraudulent activities had been unearthed. She is aware that he paid all his maintenance arrears through her Kingdom Bank account and after its closure he would give her cash,” Chizema’s lawyer said.
“On one of the days this year, the accused person then discovered another birth certificate for his child which had been registered by another father. When he began questioning the issue that was when complainant reported this matter.”
The matter came to light after Epworth Police Station – that is handling the matter requested for particulars of the child in question from the registrar general’s office – and it was discovered that Kwanisai had registered the minor in Chizema’s surname and in the name of another man Solver Nyaude. She then claimed maintenance from both parties, it is alleged.
The child’s paternity is still uncertain and the court is now seized with the report from the registrar general’s office which reflects the minor’s varying identities.
Chizema’s lawyer Bothwell Ndlovu objected to having his client tried for the charges on the basis that it would not be in best interests of justice. He argued that the maintenance order had been fraudulently obtained by Kwanisai in the first place.
He further advised the court that another man had also been given paternity of the same child and it was not clear if Chizema was the father of the child.
He also argued that Chizema would be prejudiced financially in the event that his application for maintenance discharge succeeds after he would have paid the $3 538 maintenance arrears.
Muzondo was to deliver a ruling on the arguments yesterday, but referred the case to the Civil Court.
According to State papers, in January 2013 a Harare Civil Court order compelled Chizema to pay $61 monthly maintenance towards the upkeep of the pair’s alleged child.
Chizema did not comply with the court’s order and only paid $488, with his arrears accruing to $3538.
Chizema has made an application before the court to suspend the operation of the maintenance order granted in 2013.