Untouchable fraud kingpin arrested

Yan Yu has been charged for two cases involving fraud and defeating the course of justice.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested a Chinese national who has hogged the media limelight over many years in a litany of cases involving fraud, impersonation and perjury.

Yan Yu has been charged for two cases involving fraud and defeating the course of justice.

She was arrested last Tuesday and spent the night at Avondale Police Station before appearing at the Harare magistrates court the following morning for initial remand.

She was remanded out of custody but on stringent conditions including surrendering her passport until the matter is finalized, reporting every Friday to ZACC, to reside at a given address and to pay a bail deposit of US$$300.

The cases against Yan Yu emanate from alleged fraudulent printing of certificates purporting that she had passed examinations that would enable her to practice law in Zimbabwe, when in fact she failed all but one of the required six modules.

Yan is said to have obtained a law degree with the University of South Africa (Unisa) sometime in 2019.

In order for her to be able to practice law in Zimbabwe however, she would be required to attain a certificate of conversions with the Council for Legal Education (CLE).

So in 2020, Yan Yu enrolled with CLE and started writing the conversions examinations.

“The accused person registered and sat for six modules namely, criminal procedure, civil procedure, evidence, statues, bookkeeping and ethics in November 2020 after being exempted for two modules namely common law one and two.

“She only managed to pass criminal procedure and failed the remaining five modules,” the charge sheet reads.

Yan is t alleged to have hatched a plan to obtain the certificate of conversions fraudulently.

She allegedly corrupted an employee of the Council for Legal Education with money and got the certificate printed for her.

The CLE employee allegedly gave the money to one Huggins Hardwork Duri, the CLE executive secretary who then processed the certificate for Yan Yu.

Duri was also reportedly arrested.

 “The accused person went on to approach the High Court of Zimbabwe and made an application to be admitted as a legal practitioner,” the court record added.

“She submitted the fraudulently obtained certificate to the court portraying that she was a fit and proper person to be admitted as a legal practitioner.

Acting upon the misrepresentation, the accused was duly admitted as a legal practitioner on the 21st of October 2021.”

Last year, this publication ran a story in which Yan was a key player in an intricate case pregnant with bizarre episodes involving what appeared to be a sophisticated criminal Chinese cartel.

The Registrar General in Harare had to cancel the burial order, death certificate and identity documents for a deceased member of the cartel, Zhaoxi Wu after it was discovered that he had been using a forged document and that his widow, Yan was now seeking to fraudulently register the estate of a living person Zhaosheng Wu, who is alive and well in China.

Most of the cartel’s assets including mines, swathes of prime land in Harare and elsewhere across the country, huge interests in tourism and hospitality,  among other properties  are registered in Zhaosheng Wu’s name.

This is the property that Yan Yu sought to register as her late husband’s estate until it was discovered and the Master of the High Court immediately revoked letters of appointment issued in favour of Yan as the executrix dative.

Yan Y has made false claims in various court hearings and through sworn affidavits that she is Zhaosheng Wu’s wife and that her husband is dead.

 It has been proven, however, that in fact Yan’s husband is Zhaoxi Wu.

The Chinese embassy and Zimbabwean authorities have confirmed that Yan Yu’s claims are false and that in fact Zhaosheng Wu is alive in China and that Yan’s husband, Zhaoxi Wu is the one who died in Zimbabwe in 2017.

Details of the various court proceedings in which Yan purports to be the wife of Zhaosheng Wu whom she also claims is dead are contained in records of the court proceedings.

Several months investigations by The Standard revealed how the Registrar General’s office was duped into issuing a passport and national identity document to Zhaoxi in the name of Zhaosheng Wu and also how, after his death, Zhaoxi’s wife Yan Yu managed to fraudulently obtain a death certificate and burial order for her husband Zhaoxi Wu in the name of Zhaosheng Wu who is alive.

According to documents in our possession, communication between the Registrar General’s Office and the President’s Department dated January 18 2022, the Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs ministry and the Chinese embassy were involved in the issuance of the burial order for Zhaoxi’s body under the false identity Zhaosheng.

Upon unearthing the identity scam when issues of the deceased’s estate arose with Yan claiming that she was ‘the late Znaosheng’s widow’ the President’s Office immediately wrote to the Registrar’s Office requesting the cancellation of the burial order and identity document for Zhaosheng as they were products of fraud.

In an interview recently, Tom Baris, one of the Zimbabwean businessmen who is locked in a legal battle with Yan told The Standard that he believed there is deliberate and criminal intent by Yan to misrepresent her dead husband as Zhaosheng.

The plan, he said, was to fraudulently claim the many assets owned by Zhaosheng Wu whom she falsely claimed was her deceased husband.

Tom-Baris cited the false claims by Yan that her husband was Zhaosheng and her ‘fraudulent attempts’ to register Zhaosheng’s estate as the bona fide widow, as evidence of her ‘deceptive and unreliable character’.

“Yan Yu should be arrested on sight for the many criminal actions that she stands guilty of.

“On her admission, she connived with her late husband to obtain false identity documents for him; she then proceeded to apply for a burial order for her husband Zhaoxi Wu under a false identity; then she proceeded to use the burial order to dupe the Master of the High Court into registering Zhaosheng’s estate and making her the executor.

“That alone warrants her immediate arrest and deportation,” said Tom-Baris. 

Contacted for comment, Yan dismissed claims by Baris and his colleagues saying she was being victimised because she was a vulnerable widow who did not have protection.

She refused to respond to allegations of her colluding in the fraudulent registration of a Zimbabwean identity document by her husband as Zhaosheng and her providing this false information in the death notice following the demise of her husband Zhaoxi .

Evidence at hand further confirms that Yan registered Zhaosheng’s estate under DR 1561/17 proclaiming herself as the widow of the deceased and thereby fraudulently obtaining letters of administration of the ‘deceased’ person under her name when in fact Zhaosheng is alive.

She also registered her own two children with her husband Zhaoxi as heirs to Zhaosheng’s estate.

The Master of the High Court has, however, since cancelled the estate after realising the fraudulent nature of documents deposited with them.

The deputy Master of the High Court, K.F Chigomararwa wrote to Tom-Baris confirming they had since received confirmation from the Registrar General indicating that the death certificate and other documents issued in respect of Zhaosheng had been cancelled on August 3 2018… “after it was discovered that the so called Zhaosheng Wu was an imposter and the Zimbabwean identity documents had been fraudulently acquired”.

The letter written on April 2022, copy of which is with The Standard reads: “It is, therefore, against this background that we have taken a position to cancel the registration of the deceased estate from our register.

“Accordingly, it follows that all proceedings to do with the administration of the estate have been set aside and letters of appointment issued in favour of Yan Yu as the executrix dative have been revoked.

“The whole process has been rendered invalid and the record is recorded as closed.”

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