A Mpopoma man, masquerading as a lawyer representing Bulawayo City Council, allegedly defrauded Victory Fellowship Church of $3 600 after falsely claiming it owed the local authority $20 000.

Richard Ndlovu (47) was not asked to plead to fraud when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove last Wednesday.

He was remanded in custody while awaiting trial.

The court heard that in May 2012, Ndlovu went to the Victory Fellowship church along George Silundika Street where he allegedly introduced himself to Tomson Dube, a pastor, as a lawyer from Advocate S K M Sibanda and Partners.

He allegedly told the pastor that he had been instructed by council to recover debt owed by the church.

Ndlovu allegedly said the law firm would accept any amount of payment which would be remitted to council.

Dube and a church representative, Judy Hwekwete, later advised one Ellen Matora to pay council $1 300 through Ndlovu on a monthly bases starting in July 2012.

On July 7 that year, Ndlovu went to the church and was paid $1 000 by Matora and he signed for it.

On September 20, Ndlovu was allegedly paid $1 300 and he again signed for it.

However, Hwekwete received a statement from council during the same month only to discover that the payments made through Ndlovu were not reflected.

Hwekwete approached the local authority and was advised to direct her complaints to the law firm.

Ndlovu allegedly promised to resolve the matter before he came for another payment of $700.

He later produced receipts purportedly showing that the church was paying its debts to council.

Ndlovu’s luck finally ran out on July 7 this year when Dube read a story in the local media about the bogus lawyer’s appearance in court on a similar case.

A report was made to the police, leading to his arrest.