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A Harare lawyer last week appeared in court facing allegations of conniving with four people to swindle homeseekers of about US$56 000 using fake identity documents.

Lawyer Edmore Machuwaire (43), Francisco Chatyoka (23), Peter Ganyo (52), Edwin Durura and Linah Machekanyanga (34) appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei facing fraud charges.

Mr Ndirowei remanded them to August 4 in custody.

They were aised to apply for bail at the High Court.

The court heard that Machuwaire is a registered legal practitioner at Machuwaire Law Firm and is the senior partner.

It is alleged that between June 2013 and July this year Chatyoka, Ganyo and Machekanyanga, who are not employed, went around Harare identifying vacant stands.

It is alleged that after this, they proceeded to the Deeds Office to find the names of the owners. They then allegedly processed fake identity particulars of the stand owners.

Using the identity particulars of the stand owners the accused placed an aertisement in a local newspaper selling the stands, it is alleged.

Interested home seekers responded to the aertisements and met the four to negotiate prices.

It is alleged after negotiations the accused demanded a deposit and invited the unsuspecting home seekers to Machuwaire’s office at Pax House in Harare.

The court heard that after drafting the agreements of sale, Machuwaire, to avoid suspicion, aised the complainants that he could not provide conveyance services for them.

Chatyoka, Ganyo, Durura and Machekanyanga later aised the complainants that they had found another lawyer for conveyance.

After the homeseekers made their payments, the accused switched off their cellphones to avoid being traced.

Sensing that they had been duped, the complainants looked for the actual owners of the stands, prompting them to report the matter to the police.

The accused were arrested while attempting to defraud another home seeker using the same modus operandi.

The complainants lost US$56 800 and nothing was recovered.

Source : The Herald