Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
A SUSPECTED bogus lawyer yesterday appeared in court to answer to fraud charges after he reportedly received US$3000 for legal fees on behalf of a local firm claiming to be attached to the firm.
Beven Chipunza was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate, Dennis Mangosi.
Chipunza was initially represented by Harare lawyer Liberty Gono who later recused himself on the basis that he was once attached to Machaga legal firm and was therefore conflicted.
Chipunza was given more time to find another legal practitioner to represent him.
The complainant is Evelyn Chirengwa.
The court heard that on July 9, Chirengwa met Chipunza at Zimbabwe Open University Offices in Harare while on her way to look for a legal practitioner to assist her following the conviction of her husband on a charge of unlawful possession of ivory.
Chipunza reportedly told her that he was a lawyer attached to Dube, Tachiona and Tsvangirai Law Firm and was able to assist with processing Bail Pending Appeal at the High Court on behalf of her husband.
From July to September, Chipunza reportedly demanded various legal fees from Chirengwa amounting to US$3000.
She then requested for receipts from Chipunza and he failed to produce them prompting her to go to Dube, Tachiona and Tsvangirai Law Firm where she wanted to enquire about her case.
Chirengwa was advised that Chipunza was not a lawyer with their law firm and she made a police report on the same day.
Upon his arrest the Chipunza was found in possession of a Practicing Certificate belonging to Tungamirai Muganhiri, a Legal Practitioner attached to Machaya and Associates Law Firm.
A check was carried out with the Law Society of Zimbabwe and they confirmed that Chipunza was not a registered Legal Practitioner in Zimbabwe.