Monday, July 27, 2009

Only in Africa 2

‘Mystic’ cons Zimbabwe government

A medicine woman who conned President Robert Mugabe’s government out of about 1 million US dollars by bamboozling ministers into believing she could tap diesel fuel from a rock was convicted of fraud at the weekend, state media reported today.

of Nomatter Tagirira, found an abandoned fuel tank in the bush near the northern town of Chinhoyi in March 2007.

She filled it with diesel, attached a pipe to the outlet and concealed it at the top of a rock, the Chinhoyi magistrate’s court heard.

She then summoned top government official to witness her "discovery."

At a signal, a hidden accomplice would open the tap on the pipe and the officials would gasp in amazement as refined diesel poured down the side of the rock.

A cabinet "task force" dispatched by Mugabe to investigate the claim returned to declare that Zimbabwe’s persistent fuel shortages were at an end.

Government officials and businessmen lavished money and vehicles on the medium until several months later, when a second group of ministers began to express doubt about the woman’s bona fides.

Judge Ignatius Mugova found Mavhunga guilty of defrauding the government of 500 billion dollars in the now disused Zimbabwean dollar, the equivalent of about 1 million US dollars, and of "misrepresenting to a public official" that she could conjure diesel from a stone, the state-controlled Herald daily reported.

The magistrate also named one of the country’s most powerful civil servants, registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede, as "an interested party" in the fraud.

Mudede, who has run the country’s elections since 2000, had supplied 125 litres of diesel, which the mystic poured down the rock, the judge revealed. When Mavhunga went on the run from police, she was hidden and fed by Mudede, Mugova said.
While finding his behaviour was "disturbing" the jud ge said he was not convinced Mudede was acting out of self-interest.

Many people who visited Mavhunga’s "shrine" were "gullible" and were clearly "frightened" of her alleged spiritual power, referring to reports that members of the investigating cabinet task force took off their shoes in her presence.

During the trial, Mavhunga would start growling in the dock before the terror-stricken public gallery, but the magistrate said she had been faking a trance to try and have herself declared unfit for trial.

Her conviction was passed "in absentia", as she had repeatedly failed to turn up after being served the summons, and was believed to be in hiding, the Herald said. Sentencing is expected later in the week.

3 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...


Thomas J Wolfenden said...

What a bunch of morons... I can see this happeneing about 5,000 years ago, but to fall for this shit now is jus plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

@RT: I can see this happening 5,000 years from now.