Woman up for 49 counts of fraud

A woman who had an arrest warrant for possession of crack cocaine is handcuffed in South Los Angeles, November 12, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

BULAWAYO – A woman allegedly defrauded a non-governmental organisation she was working for of more than $80 000.

Hazel Chawanda Matenga, 43, formerly employed by Child Care Ministries as its country co-ordinator, yesterday appeared before magistrate Tinashe Tashaya facing 49 counts of fraud.

She was remanded out of custody to March 29 on $100 bail. As the organisation’s co-ordinator, part of Matenga’s duties included facilitating the shipment of child sponsorship documents to the organisation’s partners in the United States of America (US).

Prosecutor Leanne Nkomo told the court that between January 29, 2013 and January 24, this year, Matenga generated cash requisitions and fake invoices purported to have originated from DHL with inflated figures, reflecting the purported costs incurred in sending mail to the US.

As a result of the misrepresentation, Child Care Ministries released $80 839,54 to her.

The court further heard that after receiving the money from the US on behalf of the organisation through bank transfers and cash, the accused would allegedly inflate figures before paying out the actual varying amount to DHL.

Matenga would allegedly pocket the remainder before presenting fake receipts purportedly from DHL as proof of payment.

This reportedly happened for a period spanning more than four years.

The offence was discovered when one of the employees at the organisation decided to verify the invoices and receipts with DHL, which declared that the documents did not originate from the organisation.

A police report was filed, leading to Matenga’s arrest.

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