A MAN from Marondera who impersonated a B-Metro reporter to extort $1,200 from a Catholic nun in Gweru has been ordered to perform 270 hours of community service at a primary school in his home town.
A warrant of arrest against Mike Chimutanda that was issued last Friday was cancelled after he appeared at the Gweru magistrates’ court later that day and claimed he had been late as his vehicle had broken down.
Chimutanda told Sister Concilia Jangara, the headmistress of Gweru’s Regina Mundi Girls’ High School, that he had indecent pictures of her.
He demanded $1,208 from the Roman Catholic Church nun to stop publication of the photos in B-Metro after lying that he worked for the tabloid.
Chimutanda’s wife has since repaid the money.
Gweru Magistrate Musaiwona Shotgame yesterday 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 more out of greed than need because you’re self-employed and have enough valuable assets,” Shotgame said.
“However, the court considers that you’re 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 performs 270 hours of community service from November 15 and the other six months were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within five years.
Chimutanda, who was representing himself, had pleaded not guilty and was out of custody on $100 bail.
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 other accomplice Tenias Mapfune was also found to be fictitious.
Initially, Chimutanda was charged with extortion together with Tsitsi Kahari, a Cabs Textacash agent.
Kahari then turned State witness.
Chimutanda asked Sister Jangara to deposit the money into the non-existent Ndlovu’s account and he found a way to transfer it to Kahari’s account, from which it was withdrawn, the court heard.
In defence, Chimutanda said: “I was expecting money from Mapfune and asked for the ATM card.
“I paid back the money to show that I didn’t intend to con the complainant. I’m popular in Marondera, I’m a music promoter and wouldn’t do this.”