Thomas Tatenda Marongwe, a pastor from the Mutare branch of CHRIST Embassy Church, found himself in court yesterday, facing charges of fraud related to a vehicle that had been smuggled into the country.

Marongwe appeared before regional magistrate Donald Ndirowei, who ordered his remand in custody until today when his bail hearing will take place.

According to the allegations, in 2022, an individual named Sean Persuade Kaseke smuggled a white Toyota Fortuner into Zimbabwe. Kaseke subsequently put the vehicle up for sale at Sean Motors Car Sales, located at the intersection of Robert Mugabe and Chiremba roads in the capital city.

The vehicle in question, the Toyota Fortuner, had been fitted with a registration number plate (AFC 0441) that had been reported as stolen. Additionally, a forged registration book was created to falsely indicate that the vehicle was registered under the President’s Office.

On January 19 of this year, Marongwe became aware that Elton Tapiwa Zikatih was in search of an automatic Toyota Fortuner. Allegedly, Marongwe collaborated with Kaseke to execute a fraudulent scheme.

Marongwe purportedly misrepresented that the vehicle was being sold as an ex-Government vehicle and would undergo de-registration in November. They deceived Zikatih by leading him to believe that they would modify the ownership documentation after the de-registration process, and that he would receive an exemption letter, allowing him to freely use the vehicle.

In this arrangement, Zikatih agreed to exchange his Toyota Hilux GD6 and pay an additional sum of US$10,000 to acquire the Toyota Fortuner