FAKE HUBBY WED TO ANOTHER 'WIFE'

THE Nigerian man arrested in connection with a fraudulent marriage to a Limpopo magistrate has been found to be fraudulently married to another woman in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Sowetan learnt yesterday.

THE Nigerian man arrested in connection with a fraudulent marriage to a Limpopo magistrate has been found to be fraudulently married to another woman in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Sowetan learnt yesterday.

Odera Ekwunife allegedly married the woman without her knowledge.

The marriage allegedly took place in Johannesburg on October 23 2001.

According to records from the Department of Home Affairs, which are in Sowetan's possession, the marriage to the KwaZulu-Natal woman had since been expunged from the population register after the woman lodged a complaint with the department.

Sowetan is also in possession of a copy of an affidavit written by the woman indicating that she did not know her "spouse".

Speaking from her workplace at a school in Newcastle yesterday, the woman, who requested not to be identified, said she had since gotten into heavy debts as a result of her "fraudulent marriage" to Ekwunife.

"I am still in the dark as to what happened because neither did I know the person to whom I was allegedly married nor had I ever been to Johannesburg," the victim said.

The 33-year-old woman said she had gone to Home Affairs offices in Newcastle to apply for an ID in order for her employer to register her for unemployment insurance when she discovered that she was married to a Nigerian man she did not know.

"As if that was not enough, I later discovered that the man had opened a number of accounts at several stores using my name," she said.

The woman cited HomeChoice as one of the stores that gave her sleepless nights, insisting that she owed them more than R5000.

"I work as a cleaner at the school and earn too little.

"I could in no way afford to make such huge debts knowing that I could not pay them back," she said.

She said she started feeling better after Home Affairs cleared her name after an intensive investigation into the matter.

"But I'm still left with a bad name because of the man's illegal activities," she said.

Sowetan has also learnt that some officials at the Department of Home Affairs were in hot water following the discovery that they had registered Ekwunife's marriage to Limpopo magistrate Mary Mokone without his producing a decree of divorce from his marriage to the KwaZulu-Natal woman.

Limpopo departmental spokesperson Sam Moremi, confirmed yesterday that an investigation was under way and that if found guilty, the officials would be charged with misconduct.

Ekwunife is at present in the Polokwane police holding cells after he was caught at the OR Tambo International Airport while trying to flee to his native country.

His lawyer tried unsuccessfully to apply for bail on Friday last week.

He married the Newcastle woman as Odera Ekwunife.

On his marriage certificate to Mokone, Ekwunife's birth date was given as June 3 1971, while the passport he was found in possession of on his arrest indicated that he was born on October 12 1970.

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