Masunda and Marijeni jailed for fraud in the UK


PRESSURE from home is forcing many people into criminal activitiesRecently, a Zimbabwean family man was sentenced to 17 years in prison in the UK for benefit fraud and conducting sham marriages.
John Bilston, a crime reporter, said Clemence Marijeni has been locked up for 17 years after producing fake documents for two huge West Midlands United Kingdom fraud rackets.
Most Zimbabweans are under pressure to deliver and as a result, go on to do whatever brings them money to meet the expectations from home.
Unlike Marijeni who was caught, most have survived and fallen off police radar.
Those not caught motivate others to join these criminal rings.
Another jailed Zimbabwean is former Blackpool and Zimbabwean national team footballer Liberty Masunda from Mapleton Road, Hall Green — a clinical engineer in Somerset — who received a three-year jail sentence for his involvement in the conspiracy.
Masunda, who was a prolific player in Zimbabwe soccer circles, exchanged the boots for prison gab after the benefit temptation proved very strong.
He made over 450 000 pounds from the scam before the long arm of the law caught up with him.
Marijeni and his wife Poula Chikuhwa (37) started building a mansion in Zimbabwe.
The couple were the master forgers behind one of the West Midlands’ largest marriage scams and a £720 000 maternity allowance fraud.
Marijeni produced fake documents for the money-spinning rackets, which ran simultaneously for almost four years, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The Zimbabwe-born 44-year-old father of two completed a Law degree at Wolverhampton University after coming to the UK in 2006 and claimed to earn £30 000-a-year from his role in a shipping business.
But the graphics expert pocketed more cash by selling forged paperwork to others involved in the two frauds while using eight bank accounts under false names to collect at least £55 000 from bogus maternity allowance claims for him.
The gang made at least 165 fake maternity applications between May 2011 and August 2015, pocketing £450 000 but would have collected £720 000 if a considerable number had not been spotted as phony by Department of Work and Pensions officials and rejected.
Henry Bazra, the alleged brains behind the operation, was interviewed by investigators but fled the country before he could be arrested and is now thought to be in Zimbabwe.
Hundreds of bogus documents used in the scam and the sham marriage racket were found on a computer at the home of Marijeni in Weston Road, Bilston, but the maternity allowance conspiracy was still under investigation when the other case went to trial.
Marijeni was a key player in the bogus marriage fraud, creating fake histories in a bid to help at least 45 West Africans to stay in the country illegally through bogus weddings.
Czech and Slovakian people, allegedly working and living in the UK, were paid to tie the knot with the West Africans.
This is because any person from the EU is allowed to stay in the UK, so their partners will be allowed too.
Marijeni took advantage of the ‘loose’ system and exploited it to his pleasure and pocket’s satisfaction.
He was jailed for 10 years when convicted of the fraud following a trial in October 2016 and now a further seven years have been added to the term after he was found guilty of being ‘at the heart’ of the maternity allowance racket.
Harpreet Sandhu, prosecuting, said: “He was more than just a facilitator of criminal activity – he was directly engaged with it.”
Bogus application forms were submitted with forged maternity certificates confirming either a pregnancy or birth, apparently signed by a member of a GP practice with an official stamp meant to prove the document’s authenticity.
Bogus pay slips were sent with the form, tricking officials into believing the applicants met the basic requirement of having worked for at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately preceding the birth.
Judge Barry Berlin said while passing the latest sentence on Marijeni: “You are a clever, devious, thoroughly dishonest man.
“This was a well organised and ruthless fraud against the public purse and you were one of the prime movers.”
The defendant’s wife, Chikuhwa, was jailed for three years after using the name of a cousin to set up two bank accounts into which money from the scam was paid but made the mistake of settling her own rent with some of the cash.
The judge told her: “You built a house in Zimbabwe and I am quite satisfied that was part of the motivation for your involvement.
“You assisted your husband when you knew he was at the heart of the web.”
This case has embarrassed the Zimbabwean community in the UK who are now viewed as criminals.
However, there are successful Zimbabweans here working hard and earning an honest living.


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