Harare pastor cons Korean missionary out of US$6,000 in bogus stand deal

HARARE – A Harare pastor with New Creation in Christ Ministries has appeared in court charged with defrauding a Korean missionary of US$6,000 under the pretext the latter was purchasing a church stand.

Court heard Friday that Dong Chan of Paul Missionary International in South Korea lost the amount after he had sought assistance from Pastor Blessing Bentura to buy a stand to construct his church.

Chan is in Zimbabwe to conduct some missionary work.

Bentura appeared before magistrate Stanford Mambanje Friday charged with fraud and was remanded to February 28 pending finalisation of investigations.

Allegations are that sometime in May last year, Chan approached Bentura requesting for information on how he could purchase a stand to build a church in Hopley area.

Bentura, court heard, offered to assist.

He then introduced the Korean to Tendai Katsaria, the area councilor who is already in remand over the same matter.

It is further alleged that on May 21, Bentura, acting in connivance with Katsaria, showed Chan Stand No. 7358 measuring 5,000 sqm, which Katsaria said was valued between US$10,000 and US$12,000.

Bentura indicated to Chan that if he paid US$6,000 to Katsaria, he would be allowed to start constructing the church while he paid the balance at a later stage.

Chan then paid the US$6,000 in installments.

Bentura and Katsaria fraudulently generated some receipts purporting to be Development Fee and Evaluation and Estates Division of City of Harare for the money they had received.

They then made numerous promises to Chan saying the stand would eventually be availed to him.

Chan later became suspicious and decided to approach the City of Harare enquiring about the status of the property.

His fears were confirmed when he was told the stand was nonexistent and that no money had been paid to the local authority in connection with the said stand.

The complainant was prejudiced of US$6,000 and nothing has been recovered.

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