THREE Kwekwe men have been arrested for allegedly masquerading as officers from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) sent by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over a mine in Shangani.
Gostaff Gomo (37), Isaac Makore (37) and Tichaona Chinosengwa (35) appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Franklin Mkhwananzi facing charges of impersonating a public officer in violation of section 179 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The trio, which is being represented by Mr Boswell Chideme of Mavhunga and Associates, was remanded in custody to today for bail application.
Prosecuting, Mr Mufaro Mageza said on March 5 this year, the accused drove to Tobo Mining Syndicate in Shangani, Matabeleland South province in a Zanu-PF vehicle from Zhombe Constituency.
On arrival they confronted the owner of the mine, Ms Priscilla Ncube and introduced themselves as CIO officials purportedly sent by President Mnangagwa to take over the mine.
“The accused persons threatened the complainant with unspecified action insisting that she must vacate the mine to allow them to take over the operations,” said Mr Mageza.
Meanwhile, a Zanu-PF youth member in Bulawayo, who allegedly also used President Mnangagwa’s name to extort US$12 000 from the same woman was yesterday further remanded in custody to today pending ruling on his application for bail.
He appeared before Mr Mkhwananzi facing extortion charges.
Blessed Mushando (27) was arrested on Saturday during a dawn raid at his place of residence in the Central Business District in a joint operation by members of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) from Harare and Bulawayo.
Mushando, who was once arrested on similar charges in 2017, is accused of duping the woman of US$12 000, after he allegedly told her that he was linked to President Mnangagwa and could liaise with his office to secure her mining interests.
Mr Mageza said on March 24 this year Mushando allegedly drove a Zanu-PF branded vehicle to Shangani, where he met the complainant, Ms Ncube.
It is allegedly that he misrepresented himself, telling Ms Ncube that she should pay US$12 000 to President Mnangagwa for her to secure the mine.
“Mushando extorted the complainant of US$2 000 after telling her that he had the capacity to assist her in securing the mine. He told her that the mine had been targeted by the President’s Office in turning around the economy, as it was rich in gold. Mushando was allegedly given the money by one Dumisani Ndlovu on behalf of Ms Ncube,” said the prosecutor.
On 26 March Mushando allegedly contacted Ms Ncube, while he was in Harare telling her that she needed to pay the balance to conclude the deal. Ms Ncube allegedly paid the US$10 000 with the hope that the mine would indeed be secured.
Ms Ncube, sometime last week, after realising that she had been duped, as the mine had been taken by someone else, made a police report leading to Mushando’s arrest.