Church clerk up for $12 000 fraud

10 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Church clerk up for $12 000 fraud The clerk allegedly took advantage of laxity in controls to forge receipts and manipulate amounts paid by different assemblies for five months

The ManicaPost


Post Correspondent

THE United Methodist Church in Rusape was prejudiced of over US$12 000 by its accounts clerk who allegedly took advantage of laxity in controls to forge receipts and manipulate amounts paid by different assemblies for five months.

The church’s accounts clerk — Miriam Chibvura (44), of Silverbow, Rusape, was recently arrested and arraigned before the courts to answer theft charges as defined in Section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.

She allegedly siphoned more than US$12 000 from the church’s coffers through forging receipts between March 1, 2023 and August 31, 2023.

Chibvura, who is being represented by Mr Munyaradzi Manyengavana, of Manyengavana Law Chambers, was not asked to plead when she appeared before Rusape magistrate, Mr Tapiwa Kuhudzayi last week.

She was remanded out of custody on her cognisant (free bail).

Ms Belinda Chari prosecuted.

Ms Chari said Chibvura would receive varying amounts of money from the churches under Makoni-Buhera District, and issued out correct receipts, but would later create other receipts with lesser amounts.

The offence came to light when she presented two receipts books with different payments, prompting senior members of the church to institute an audit.

“On an unknown date, but during the period extending March 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023, the accused person hatched a plan to steal from her employer. She received different amounts of cash from the United Methodist churches in and around Rusape and issued out receipts. The receipts issued were a confirmation of cash received from the churches. However, Chibvura converted cash amounting to US$12 333 to her own use.

“The accused person destroyed the receipts books with copies she had issued to the churches. She took another unused receipt book and re-receipted the cash she had received from churches, plucking out receipts, and at the same time destroying the original receipts. The fake receipt book running from DY400 to DY600 are held as exhibit.

“Chibvura later compiled two different financial statements using statistics from the doctored receipt books and submitted them for presentation at financial meetings held in September and November 2023, respectively.

“She was asked to produce the receipts books, and only managed to furnish two receipt books of which one of them was fake. Of the two receipts books, one was purported to have been used to receipt United States dollars (USD), while the other one was for ZWL dollars,” said Ms Chari.

Ms Chari said an alert board member of the trustee, Mr Edward Mukoyi and church members conducted an audit comparing the income, which was US$43 072 against the expenditure of US$31 639, and discovered an unaccounted variance of US$12 333.

When questioned about the difference, Chibvura failed to account for it resulting in a police report being made.

“The original receipts issued by Chibvura to churches were re-collected by the informant from the churches. The fake receipts will be produced in court as exhibits. The total value stolen is US$12 333 and nothing was recovered,” said Ms Chari.


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