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Mutare City Councilors In Court For Extortion

MUTARE– Two Mutare City councillors and one ex-councillor have been arraigned before Mutare Magistrate’s Court for conniving to extort US$250 from unsuspecting home seekers.

The trio allegedly connived to defraud a resident who wanted to have his stand regularized by the local municipality sometime in 2018 when they were all serving.

Farai Bhiza (38) councillor Ward 11 and  John Nyamhoka ward 17 both of MDC Alliance and ZANU-PF’s Ward 17 Wellington Zambezi, were granted ZWL$5 000 bail each by Magistrate Prisca Manhibi.

The trio is denying the allegations and will return in court on October 28, 2020.

It is the State’s case that sometime in 2018, the accused persons hatched a plan to extort money from the complainant Samuel Masaiti who resides in Chimanimani.

Bhiza reportedly phoned the complainant and told him that he wanted money quickly to regularize his stand in Chikanga area in Mutare.

Masaiti reportedly refereed Bhiza to one Tamayi Verenga, Bhiza in turn, reportedly told Zambezi to call Verenga and collect an unspecified amount from him.

Zambezi got in touch with Verenga, whom he went to see at Mutare’s Green Market where he received US$50.

Upon receiving this amount it is alleged that Zambezi later called Masaiti indicating that the money he had received was too little to cover for the assistance to regularize his stand.

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The following day Bhiza met the complainant and gave him another US$200.

Bhiza allegedly shared the money with his co-accused, Zambezi and Nyamhoka.

After several attempts to get assistance from the trio continuously hit a brick wall, the complainant saw that nothing was materializing.

On 21 September 2020, the complainant made a report at ZRP Mutare Central leading to the arrest of the accused persons.

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