Mathew Masinge

HARARE lawyer Emmanuel Mukwewa, of Mukwewa Law Chambers, has been caught in the storm of a botched US$170 000 stand deal.

Mukwewa appeared before Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje charged with fraud.

He is out on free bail and is expected back in court on July 30.

Prosecutor Anesu Chirenje said sometime in September 2023, Richard Paswa, who is still at large, placed an advert, via a WhatsApp group, in which he claimed he was selling a piece of land in Arcadia for US$400 000.

The said property was claimed to be measuring 20 000 square metres and was situated at the corner of Seke Road and Cripps Road in Arcadia.

A Chinese national, Huang Liqiang, developed interest in the property and contacted Paswa, who confirmed that he owned the property.

On September 9, Paswa ordered Liqiang to meet him at Mukwewa Law Chambers, along Samora Machel Avenue, where he was asked to pay a deposit of US$170 000.

The State said Paswa and Mukwewa ordered Liqiang to pay US$70 000 as initial deposit for them to sign the agreement, and the other US$100 000 was to be paid upon production of diagrams from the City of Harare.

In pursuit of his criminal intent, Paswa then presented Liqiang with a fraudulent diagram to motivate him to pay the other US$100 000.

All the money was paid into Mukwewa Law Chambers’ Trust account.

Soon after the payment, Paswa disappeared, converting the money into his own use.

Liqiang realised that Paswa was no longer reachable and a fence had been erected by another owner on the same property.

Liqiang then started demanding answers from Mukwewa.

A report was made to the police leading to Mukwewa’s arrest while Paswa is yet to be located.

Investigations by the police showed that no agreement of sale was entered into between Paswa and Liqiang and that the latter did not own the piece of land in question.

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