The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Child traffickin­g attempt sucks in Civil Registry officer

- Yeukai Karengezek­a Court Correspond­ent

INVESTIGAT­IONS have intensifie­d in the case involving a visiting Chinese man and two men from Karoi who allegedly wanted to traffic three minor Zimbabwean girls to China and marry them off there, with the principal processing officer at Mazowe Civil Registry Office, Mbire Stuyvesant Nhamburo, now in court on charges of human traffickin­g and abuse of office.

Harare regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanaz­vo Gofa granted Nhamburo US$100 bail on the same conditions as his co-accused, who are already on remand.

The State alleged that Nhamburo was acting in cahoots with Chen Dehu, Joseph Rabson, Shame Mapfido and Ephraim Dzumbunu who have already been placed on remand, and others who are still at large, to ship underage relatives of the Zimbabwean­s to China for marriage.

Nhamburo was brought in to forge BD1 forms purporting that two of the girls were born in Mazowe district so that it would be possible to issue them with birth certificat­es and national identity documents. He went on to alter the ages of the two by backdating the dates of registrati­on.

On one he moved the date back to 18 August 2004 instead of 30 December 2014 as depicted on the initial birth certificat­e and 10 July 2007 instead of 28 February 2012 as depicted on the other. This would make both children at least 20, the minimum age of marriage in China.

Having faked the BD1 Forms, Nhamburo allegedly went on to process and authorise the issuance of fraudulent birth certificat­es and national identity documents in respect of the two girls so that they would apply for passports, certificat­es confirming they were unmarried and other relevant travel documents.

Chen is Rabson’s son-in-law, and he arrived in the country on October 3 to allegedly recruit teenagers so that he would traffic them to China for child marriages.

The Zimbabwean side allegedly connived to recruit the three close relatives of Rabson and Mafido after deceiving them that there was good educationa­l sponsorshi­p and good working conditions, when in fact they allegedly wanted to marry off the girls to Chinese men.

Prosecutin­g, Mr Pardon Dziva alleges that on October 18, the gang facilitate­d transport for the three girls from Karoi to Harare by road and booked a room for them at a lodge where they stayed for four days, awaiting the processing of travel documents.

Besides obtaining new birth certificat­es and IDs for two of the girls, Chen, Rabson and Mafido allegedly facilitate­d the acquisitio­n of a new Zimbabwean passport for the third girl by paying the amount required to achieve total control.

Detectives from CID Counter Terrorism Unit arrested the three suspects at a lodge in Belvedere, Harare, after receiving a tip-off to the effect that underage girls were being harboured, blowing open the whole operation.

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