Police in Pemba are holding a 31 year old man for allegedly trying to swindle villagers in Muzoka area in Pemba district by claiming that he is a priest from an organization attached to the Catholic Church distributing relief food.
The man identified as Greyson Habwanga was cornered by Pemba District Commissioner Reginald Mugoba on Friday after he got a tip off from one villager in Muzoka who was inquiring from him as to why the government had decided to charge villagers a sum of K15 for them to access relief food when they were already impoverished.
“I received a call from one villager asking as to whether the government had attached a fee to the relief maize being distributed and I said no, but the villager insisted that some man was collecting some money from villagers and that’s how I rushed to Muzoka and found him,” Mr Mugoba said.
Mr Mugoba said after he interrogated Habwanga, he was not satisfied with his answers which prompted him to quickly alert the police and drove the man to the police station himself.
Mr Mugoba said when he checked Habwanga’s documents that he was distributing to villagers in Muzoka for them to complete before accessing relief food, he discovered that they did not have a logo but was just a caption saying ‘ICC sponsorship forms under Care’.
However, Habwanga defended his purported organisation explaining that ICC stood for International Catholic Churches and that he had another bunch of copies with a date stamp of Mukwela Basic School in Kalomo on which pupils had written their names and endorsed signatures.
The District Commissioner further disclosed that the surnames on his identity card and the National Registration Card (NRC) could not match and his identity card did not have a logo of the organization he claimed to be representing.
“His identity card surname was Hakanga while for the NRC was Habwanga, but the good side of the story is that I prevented the crime by quick action because the man had not yet collected the money but was in the process of doing so,” Mr Mugoba said.
And Catholic Priest based at ‘Christ the king Catholic Church’ in Pemba, Corniface Musunga refuted that the Catholic Church did not have an organization involved in such activities and that if in a way his church was involved in the distribution of relief food distribution exercise in the district, he would have informed the District Commissioner of the development.