CHIREDZI- A Harare-based practicing lawyer, Farai Chauke last week appeared before Chiredzi magistrate Geraldine Mutsoto facing 21 counts of forgery and one count for defrauding Nyangambe Wildlife Project, TellZim News can reveal.
The State represented by David Tafangenyasha alleges that on January 16, 2018, Chauke, of Village 5, Nyangambe in Mkwasine, forged 21 signatures and fraudulently compiled a notarial deed of trust in respect of Nyangambe Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Chauke is employed by F. Chauke and Associates Legal Practitioners.
Nyangambe is alleged to have fraudulently appended signatures of 21 people onto the notarial deed of trust.
The matter came to light when the registered deed of trust was presented before a meeting held in Nyangambe in May 2018 where the 21 were surprised to see their signatures on the deed of trust when in fact had never appended their signatures onto it.
The complainants are Luka Mukwena, Ranganai Rukwava, Phenias Muzamani, Climate Tapudzai, Peter Chipfere, Godfrey James Machadu, Benjamin Masocha, Isaiah Salani, Antony Mashiri, Peter Chanaka, Annah Murambi, Ishmael Machipisa, Amos Chikamhi, Isaac Tizirai, Pedzisai Muchini, Marisa Chihanya, Chomu Majimba, Pilason Mucheni, Shandurai Chinodya and Rhaina Musapoyoka.
In the 22nd count, Chauke is alleged to have defrauded Nyangambe Wildlife Conservation Project when he visited the office of the Registrar of Deeds in Harare on the February 02, 2018 where he presented the fraudulent deed in respect of Nyangambe Wildlife Conservation Project Trust.
In his defense outline, Chauke claims he did not forge any signatures but was asked by the parents, commonly called the Nyangambe (1983) Resettlement Scheme (also known as the 181 Farmers) who are the owners of Nyangambe Wildlife Project, to advise them on how to avoid tax.
He said he was given register of the 181 farmers where he was supposed to choose the 21 signatories to draft the deed for the benefit of the community and not to his benefit as it only sought to lawfully avoid tax.
The deed is currently being used by the community's auditor, one Mashonga Manyika for tax avoidance purpose only.
By the time of writing, the case was now awaiting judgement on the December 05, 2019.