News / Local

Bogus recruiting officer appears in court

by Staff Reporter
04 Feb 2013 at 23:34hrs | 3466 Views
A man, who was masquerading as a recruiting officer from a local non governmental organisation, defrauded hundreds of job seekers in Bulawayo by charging them $12 each to get a job, a Bulawayo magistrate heard yesterday.

Mr Abednico Ndebele heard this at the appearance of Vincent Palma Mpofu (26), of 2099 2nd Street, Makokoba, who was facing a charge of fraud.

Mpofu, who holds a diploma in accounting and auditing, is an ex-worker of Kingdom Bank where he was dismissed for theft.

He was convicted of stealing money from the bank and fined $100 last year.

Mpofu, who said he is a part-time auditor, would approach different people at food outlets in the city centre and misrepresent himself as a wages clerk at Orap, situated at Number 16 Boone Avenue, Richmond.

The offences were committed between 7 and 29 January this year when Mpofu made fake contract forms bearing Catholic Relief Services and Orap logos.

He also approached pastors at Glory Emmaus Church in Cowdray Park masquerading as a pastor from Omega Ministries, which he said was an inter-denominational church.

He told the pastors that he was a wages clerk at Orap and wanted people to fill some vacant contract positions.

About 116 members of the Pentecostal church, most of them youths, filled the contract forms and paid $12 each through one of their pastors, Pastor Wilfred Ndlovu, who surrendered a total of $1 398 to Mpofu on their behalf in anticipation of jobs.

There are indications that there are hundreds of other job seekers who completed similar contract forms after being approached by Mpofu or being alerted of the "vacant contract jobs" by friends.

Mpofu was yesterday convicted of defrauding a total of 123 people, who include the 116 members of the Glory Emmaus Church.

He was sentenced to 30 months in prison of which six months were suspended for three years on condition of good behaviour.

A further three months were suspended on condition that he restitutes each of the 123 complainants $12.

The money must be paid by end of June this year.

Mpofu will serve an effective 21 months.

Sentencing Mpofu, Mr Ndebele said he considered that he immorally benefited from defrauding unsuspecting church members.

The magistrate said Mpofu was a proven fraudster, who did not deserve leniency, adding that after his first "success" in the previous conviction where a fellow magistrate sentenced him to a suspended two months in prison, he went for a bigger project, which is the church.

Testifying before court, Pastor Ndlovu (25), of 1398 Cowdray Park, said when he first met Mpofu, he looked trustworthy and genuine.

He said he took him to senior pastors at the church who were also convinced that he would help congregants find jobs.

Pastor Ndlovu said they did not suspect any wrongdoing because they had been referred to several other people who had been promised jobs by Mpofu.

Some only learnt yesterday that they had been conned while others are yet to report their cases to the police.

Pastor Ndlovu said Mpofu identified himself as a pastor and demanded to meet all prospective workers who had completed contract forms and he addressed them.

He said the church paid for some of its members from its coffers while the other money was his, which he wanted to use to pay lobola.

Mpofu appeared unfazed throughout the trial and kept the gallery in stitches with his responses to questions asked by the magistrate.

The State case as presented by Ms Eunice Kamema was that Mpofu told his victims that he had been assigned to recruit people for employment by a Mr Mlalazi, who is an employing officer at Orap.

He instructed all job seekers to provide two passport size photos, a copy of the National Identity card and the $12 for opening a bank account at ZB Bank where their salaries were going to be deposited.

Mpofu instructed the job seekers not to visit Orap offices until confirmation of their employment. They were supposed to be employed as food coordinators and were expected to start work yesterday.

Pastor Ndlovu then mobilised his church members and each was given a contract form, account opening form and deposit slips from ZB Bank.

He gave Mpofu a total of $1 398 and the completed forms but Mpofu destroyed and dumped them at Centenary Park.

The offence came to light when Pastor Ndlovu inquired from Orap and was told that there was no one like Mpofu.

Security guards at Orap set a trap for Mpofu, who was arrested and led police to Centenary Park where he had destroyed and dumped the contract forms, bank account application forms and passport size photos of his victims.

Source - Bogus,court
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