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'CIO' fraudster changes plea

by Staff reporter
07 Mar 2020 at 06:45hrs | Views
A SERIAL fraudster in Bulawayo who masqueraded as a top Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officer and a close security aide to President Mnangagwa before duping Ingwebu Breweries of fuel and money, has made a U-turn after initially pleading guilty.

Henessy Dube (40) of Entumbane suburb, who was initially represented by Mr Tinashe Runganga of Tanaka Law Chambers, accused the lawyer of forcing him into pleading guilty to the charges before ditching him on the eleventh hour.

Dube is accused of fraudulently getting 375 litres of fuel and $1 200 among other undisclosed benefits from Ingwebu Breweries after masquerading as a CIO.

Dube was last year in December convicted by Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Shepherd Munjanja on his own plea of guilty to fraud, impersonating a public officer and making a false statement to deceive a registration officer in violation of Section 10 (1) (b) of the National Registration Act. However, on Tuesday, Dube, now a self-actor, had a change of heart on the day of sentencing forcing the magistrate to alter his plea to "not guilty."  

He claimed his former lawyer arm-twisted him into accepting plea of guilty.  

"Your Worship, I am denying the charges levelled against me. I never committed those offences as I was tricked into accepting the charges by my lawyer who has since ditched me," he said.

The magistrate who appeared puzzled, had to briefly adjourn the court session.  When the session resumed about 15 minutes later, the seemingly perplexed Mr Munjanja had no kind words for Dube.

"In the 18 years of my career as a magistrate I have never come across such a case where an accused person wastes the court's time by pleading guilty to charges then later, they shift goal posts by denying the very same charges. This is unacceptable, but however, justice has to prevail in this matter and therefore I have no choice, but to alter your plea to not guilty," ruled the magistrate.

Mr Munjanja postponed the matter to March 11 for commencement of trial.

Dube allegedly met Ingwebu Breweries managing director Mr Dumisani Mhlanga and produced a fake CIO identity card identifying himself as a director of operations in the CIO. He offered to assist the company to recover money from its debtors purportedly using his influence by virtue of being in the President's Office.

Dube also allegedly acquired a national identity card under the names Henessy Dube NR 08-682325-J-53 bearing his portrait.

He took another identity card NR 08-719040-R-53 with his picture but under the name of his brother, Majaha Julian Dube.

Armed with his brother's identity card, Dube allegedly stole Majaha's academic certificates acquired at the University of South Africa and applied for a teaching post in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

He was employed and  deployed to teach in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North.

Prosecuting, Mr Leonard Chile said sometime in April last year during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Dube went to Ingwebu Breweries head office in Bulawayo intending to see management.  During that time, Ingwebu Breweries was facing operational challenges, some of which emanated from failure by its debtors to honour their commitments.

"The accused person approached the company's managing director Mr Dumisani Mhlanga and introduced himself as the director of operations at the CIO based in Harare. He told Mhlanga that he was in Bulawayo as part of a team of President Mnangagwa's close security aides during the ZITF period," Mr Chile said.

He said Dube produced a fake CIO identity card bearing the names Majaha Julian Dube. "The accused person indicated to the Ingwebu Breweries managing director that he had picked information pertaining to the ill-treatment of workers and war veterans by management including the impending retrenchment of workers.

He told the managing director that the President was not amused and due to his misrepresentation, Mr Mhlanga was convinced and he briefed Dube on the goings on at the company with the accused person promising to render assistance," said Mr Chile.

The court heard that a few days later, Dube returned to Ingwebu Breweries and offered to use his influence to pressurise the company's debtors, which included companies contracted on beerhall franchise, to pay their debts and the management agreed.

Some debtors reportedly paid up after Dube's intervention.  Dube further pressurised management at Ingwebu Breweries to employ his friends under the guise that they were students on attachment from the CIO.

Their contracts were signed by management and they were given tasks to spy within the company's various departments. It was later established that Dube was not employed by the CIO and due to his misrepresentation, he benefited in the form of 375 litres of fuel allocation and $1 200 and other undisclosed benefits.

Source - chroncile