FAKE REPORTERS, EXTORTIONISTS, WE HAVE BEEN UNDER SIEGE

SUCCESS and a reputation for providing REAL LIFE AND REAL DRAMA comes with a number of those of the dark arts who will masquerade as being part of your stable.

In the last 14 years, we have had a fair share of these people.

They go around duping people after fooling them that they are working for us and, in the worst case scenario, they have ended up extorting these individuals.

In March 2021, we were forced to issue a Facebook alert after we learnt that someone was masquerading as one of our journalists.

“The FAKE journalist is going round purporting to be an H-Metro Reporter and demanding money from people, threatening to expose them or market them in H-Metro,” we warned on our social media handles.

“He is NOT from H-Metro and no H-Metro Reporter asks for money to stop a story or wrote one.”

We found out that we were not alone.

Even our sister newspaper, B-Metro, also found itself under siege.

In November 2015, a Marondera man, who impersonated a B-Metro reporter to extort US$1 200 from a Catholic nun in Gweru, was ordered to perform 270 hours of community service at a primary school in his home town.

A warrant of arrest against Mike Chimutanda was cancelled after he appeared at the Gweru Magistrates’ Court.

Chimutanda told Sister Concilia Jangara, the headmistress of Gweru’s Regina Mundi Girls’ High School, that he had indecent pictures of her.

He demanded US$1 208 from the Roman Catholic Church nun to stop publication of the photos in B-Metro after lying that he worked for it.

Chimutanda’s wife has since repaid the money.

Gweru magistrate Musaiwona Shotgame handed Chimutanda a wholly suspended 15 months jail term on two conditions; that he performs 270 hours of community service at Nyaguvi Primary School in Marondera and does not commit a similar crime within the next five years.

“This was a well-planned offence considering you were hiding your identity and I can safely say you committed this crime out of greed than need because you are self-employed and have enough valuable assets,” Shotgame said.

“However, the court considers that you are a first offender and that you deserve a chance out of prison. I hereby give you a wholly suspended sentence of 15 months.”

Nine months were suspended on condition that he performed 270 hours of community service from November 15 and the other six months were suspended on condition that he did not commit a similar offence within five years.

The court heard he somehow opened a CABS account in the name of one Showan Ndlovu.

During his trial, detectives told the court Ndlovu and his given national identity card number did not exist on the national registrar’s records. 

His accomplice, Tenias Mapfune, was also said to be fictitious.

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