A woman who wedded an ailing married man in the week he died and attempted to take over the property he acquired together with his wife who has been fending for the family in the Diaspora, has been exposed by the courts as a fraud.
Mrs Martha Singizi, who has been based in the United Kingdom for almost 20 years, got the shock of her life upon discovering that her late husband had “divorced” her using fraudulent documents.
This discovery sparked fears that the Sheriff of the High Court’s office could have played a role in the fabrication of service papers.
Presented with fraudulent return of service documents from the Sheriff’s office confirming Mrs Singizi had been personally served with divorce papers at her Chitungwiza house, but decided to default court, Justice Tendai Uchena in 2015 granted the divorce in favour of the now late Mr Edmore Singizi.
Two houses, one in Waterfalls and the other one in New Zengeza 4, Chitungwiza, that were jointly owned by the couple, were awarded to Mr Singizi.
Mrs Singizi’s travel documents show she never set foot in Zimbabwe during the period of the said service, but the Sheriff’s papers filed on record claim she was personally served with the divorce papers.
Based on the fraud, the husband started living with another woman Ms Josephine Makuwaza.
Mr Singizi fell sick and he tied the knot with Ms Makuwaza under the monogamous Marriages Act, Chapter 5:11.
Barely a week after the marriage, Mr Singizi passed on.
Ms Makuwaza then registered the estate at the Master of High Court’s office as the surviving spouse.
The fraud came to light when the four children of the late Mr Singizi were invited for an edict meeting at the Master of High Court’s office in Harare last year and discovered that there was another woman claiming to be the surviving spouse.
Ms Makuwaza intended to inherit House Number 2638 Mainway Meadows, Waterfalls and House Number 14015B Zengeza 4, Chitungwiza.
Mrs Singizi instructed her lawyer Mr Charles Chikore of Chikore & Chagwiza Legal Practitioners to challenge the divorce order at the High Court.
Mr Chikore proved to the court that his client was never served with the papers and the decree of divorce was granted without her knowledge.
Justice David Mangota found that the the decree of divorce was obtained through fraudulent means before setting aside the order.
“The judgment granted on 5 March 2015 under case number HC10425/14 be and is hereby set aside,” he said.
Mrs Singizi’s lawyers on March 4 this year successfully obtained an order nullifying the fraudulent marriage of the late Mr Singizi and Ms Makuwaza.
Justice Amy Tsanga also said Mrs Singizi was the legitimate surviving spouse who should benefit from the estate of her late husband.
“The purported marriage between second respondent and the late Edmore Singizi is hereby declared a nullity and or gets invalidated,” she ruled.
“Subsequently, the applicant be and is hereby declared a legitimate and lawful surviving spouse of the estate of the late Edmore Singizi, registered under DR1574/12.”
Ms Makuwaza was slapped with an order for costs of suit.
Mr and Mrs Singizi legally married on 19 August 1989 and their union was blessed with four children.
On April 20 2002, Mrs Singizi left for the United Kingdom for greener pastures, leaving Mr Singizi in charge of all their properties in Zimbabwe.
“I realised of this divorce order on September 18 2021 when my children advised me after an edict meeting,” said Mrs Singizi. “Interestingly, the whole alleged service was improper, fraudulent, because at the material time, I was based in the UK.
“At the time of the alleged service, I was not in Zimbabwe or nowhere near House Number 14015B New Zengeza 4, Chitungwiza. I attach hereto a copy of my passport which shows that I was not in Zimbabwe.
“The court, as a result of the foregoing, was misled into thinking and believing that I was duly served with the summons and proceeded to grant the divorce order.”