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Inquests hear how Lorraine Mbulawa and Jesus Sanchez died

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Lorraine Mbulawa Leicester

Inquests have heard how Lorraine Mbulawa and Jesus Sanchez whose bodies were found in their Braunstone Frith home died.

The bodies of Lorraine Mbulawa Sanchez and her husband Jesus were found by a family friend last week after he had gone up a stepladder and climbed through an open window to get into the house.

Several family members were at Leicester Town Hall today for the separate openings of inquests into the deaths of 27-year-old Lorraine and 31-year-old Jesus.

The hearings presided over by the assistant coroner for Leicester and South Leicestershire, Dr Christina Swann, heard Lorraine Mbulawa, who was born in Zimbabwe, was found face down on a bed.

A family friend broke into the couple’s Tatlow Road home shortly before midnight on Tuesday, November 27 when he became concerned about not having heard from them.

Residents in Tatlow Road said they were stunned by the discovery of the bodies and the house was sealed off while police carried out inquiries into the circumstances of their deaths.

Detective Inspector Jonathan Blockley of Leicestershire Police’s Major Crime Unit, based at Beaumont Leys police station, said Mahlon Hector, who went to the couple’s home with family members, found Lorraine.

He told the first inquest: “Mrs Sanchez’s body was discovered on Tuesday, November 27 at the home address in Tatlow Road and was identified by a cousin, Anendys Sanchez on November 28.

“A family friend, Mahlon Hector, who had not heard from the couple, attended at 23.52 on Tuesday, November 27.

“He noticed an upper window was insecure, although the rest of the house was secure.

“He got a stepladder and managed to get in through a window. He identified Lorraine Mbulawa lying face down on the bed.

“He opened the locked front door to allow in paramedics who attended and confirmed she was deceased.”

He added: “The post-mortem examination was conducted by Dr Michael Biggs on Wednesday, November 28.

“The post-mortem examination, conducted by Dr Michael Biggs, on Wednesday, November 28 gave the provisional cause of death as hanging, pending further toxicology and histology reports.”

DI Blockley added that further investigations and inquiries were being carried out into the deaths.

Dr Swann, who authorised the release of both bodies to the families, suspended both inquests, provisionally until May 10 to allow the police to continue their investigation into the couple’s deaths.

Family members declined to comment after the hearings.

In a statement posted on its Facebook site, St Matthews Seventh Day Adventist Church said it is “deeply saddened by the loss of one of our members, Jesus (Robert) Matos Sanchez and his wife Lorraine Matos Sanchez (nee Mbulawa)

“Their passing has caused shock, hurt and grief to all of us who knew them.

“We as a church will continue to provide support and prayers for all of those affected at this time.

“We continue to place the respective families before God during their time of grief, who alone can bring peace and healing.”

Leicester Mercury

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NEWS

Zimbabwe Care Workers Fleeced Thousands of Pounds in COS Visa Scandal

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Certificate of Sponsorship Scandal Sees Zimbabwe Care Workers Pay up to  £8k for Visa

Care workers recruited from Zimbabwe are being trapped in the UK. They are forced to pay large debts to recruitment agencies before they can start working. Once they start working, they are paid very little and are often forced to work long hours without breaks. This has led to a situation where these care workers are being exploited and treated unfairly. It has been discovered that Zimbabwean care workers who come to the UK to start their careers are getting scammed and exploited by middlemen. These workers are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous middlemen who trick them into coming to the UK and then withholding up to 50% of their wages, forcing them to live in squalor.

Due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, many trained care professionals are seeking employment overseas. However, many agencies, which are often run by Zimbabweans in the UK and are unregulated, are exploiting these workers. Zimbabwean nurses have been working in Britain for years, but hiring care workers is a new trend. Experts say that an ecosystem of manipulation has been built around this phenomenon, which is highly exploitative. One way to move to the UK is to complete a Red Cross care worker certification program, which is highly sought after. However, locals say that middlemen exploit the certificate of sponsorship (COS) by charging high fees.

Terrence Macheka, a trainee nurse, plans to emigrate to the UK when he graduates, and he says that his wife was scammed by agents who charged $380 to put her on the training waiting list, despite the official Red Cross certification fee being only $300. Closed WhatsApp groups show that these agents then ask care workers to pay up to £5,000 to be linked with UK-based care agencies. This has created a web of corruption, where UK-based care agencies run by Zimbabwe nationals give the COS to their relatives and friends first, while others have to pay hefty fees that reach £4,000. Some charge as high as £7,000, which is against British law. 

The UK law is clear that a recruitment agency cannot charge a fee for ‘placing’ an employee, and the person who ‘assigns’ or prepares and allocates the COS cannot be related to the prospective employee. However, regulation of these agencies is weak, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) suggests that their hands are tied because these actors are not under UK jurisdiction. DHSC says that some organisations may use repayment clauses to recoup upfront costs if internationally recruited staff do not meet the terms of their contract, which is acceptable. Still, it would be concerning if the repayment costs were disproportionate or punitive.

According to experts, various schemes are taking advantage of the chronic staffing issues faced by the UK’s social and healthcare systems. The NHS alone has to fill 40,000 nursing positions, which has led to a surge in international recruitment. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently signed a deal with Nepal, allowing 100 nurses to work at the Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. This pilot scheme could potentially open up opportunities for thousands of Nepalese nurses to work in the UK. However, the ethics of this move have been questioned by Sir Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians. Nepal is on an international recruitment red list, which the World Health Organization (WHO) operates to prevent developed countries from actively recruiting from regions with a lack of health workers or an undeveloped health system. Sir Andrew said, “That the UK should have [to] do special deals with other countries to support its own NHS workforce is in itself a marker of how workforce planning for the NHS has failed. That we are taking from a country that has substantially lower numbers of healthcare workers than many countries have is something we should have serious reservations about.”

NHS England has also been accused of “emptying” Zimbabwe of health workers. Although the country is not on the red list, experts have warned of a “critical shortage” of staff. In 2020, the UK issued 1,059 skilled visas to Zimbabweans, a figure which jumped to 5,549 in 2022, placing the southern African country among the UK’s top five skilled visa grantees. However, the recruitment drive has drained Zimbabwe so badly that Bulawayo municipality, in the southwest, recently complained that 13 nurses out of its skeleton staff have moved to the UK since January.

Despite the vast difference in the number of health professionals per population, Zimbabwe has managed to maintain a decent nurse-to-patient ratio, with 1.9 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people in 2018. In comparison, the UK had 8.2 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people. However, Zimbabwe is currently facing extreme poverty, which has led to nurses seeking better opportunities elsewhere. Despite being paid just $79 a month and dealing with a high patient load, Zimbabwean nurses have been fleeing the country due to the high inflation rate, which has shot up to 479% in 2020, according to Steve Hanke, director of the Troubled Currencies project at the Cato Institute. These nurses hope for a better life when they reach the UK, but many find themselves in a similar situation of financial insecurity. Experts warn that the issue of overcharging by agencies has become too large to ignore, with leaked care-worker pay slips showing salaries of £2,255 being drained by their employers under the guise of administrative fees until only £604 is left, causing an uproar on Twitter in June.

Mr Chagonda left the UK after only a few months due to unbearable conditions. He was not the only one who experienced a significant reduction in wages or had to live in cramped accommodations. During his time in Britain, he had to pay £70 a week to share a house with eight other people.

“I’ll never return to the UK as a care worker,” he told the local newspaper, describing such schemes as a form of modern slavery. However, the situation for those who were undocumented was even more dire. “I met people who had been in the UK since 1999, without papers, who worked as care workers for agencies and were left with only £300. You just do what they ask you to do,” he said, referring to his colleagues in Leeds. He added that some workers were so financially strapped that they had to sleep in their clients’ homes.

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DIASPORA

Zimbabwean Drivers in the UK: Converting Your License? The Ministry of Transport Addresses Your Questions

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Zimbabwean Drivers Licence to UK Licence

Recently, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport addressed the rising concerns about converting Zimbabwean driver’s licenses to British driver’s licenses. They shared an official statement on social media that provided answers to several crucial questions raised by Zimbabwean drivers.

Recognition of Zimbabwean Driver’s License by the British Government

One of the key questions addressed in the statement is whether the British Government still recognises the Zimbabwean driver’s license. The response was affirmative, confirming that Zimbabwean licenses are still recognised.

However, there have been unconfirmed reports of some Zimbabweans using counterfeit metal driver’s licenses in the UK. The drivers reportedly end up being involved or causing road traffic accidents

This has prompted the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK to require Certificates of Competency. These certificates are now part of the conversion process

Certificate of Competency Requirements

A question commonly asked by individuals who have lost their Certificate of Competency, which is now required for conversion, was also addressed.

The Ministry explained that the current system does not provide for duplicate Certificates of Competency due to their limited validity of 30 days.

The Ministry is actively engaging with the DVLA to reconsider this requirement.

Class Conversion and Downgrading

The statement addressed concerns from individuals who have class 2 driver’s licenses but wish to convert to classes 4 and 5, as opposed to being limited to class 2. The DVLA’s hesitation stems from doubts about the skills of many class 2 drivers who may not have undergone essential tests. To address this, the Ministry is facilitating testing for class four licenses, ensuring that drivers are competent for their desired class.

The Ministry has emphasised the importance of avoiding the use of fake Certificates of Competency. It strongly warns against presenting counterfeit certificates to the DVLA or any licensing authority as this may result in the revocation of valid driver’s licenses. The Ministry further urges applicants to follow the correct procedures for license conversion and avoid any illicit means.

Contacting CVR for License Verification

Concerns about the DVLA’s ability to contact the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) for license verification were also addressed. The Ministry assured the public that CVR maintains regular communication with DVLA.

To assist with license verification, citizens were provided with contact information for CVR via email addresses:

registrarcvr@gmail.com, ddcvrl@gmail.com, and ddcvr2@gmail.com.

Additionally, individuals were encouraged to seek assistance from their respective embassies if needed.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Nox Guni Reportedly Arrested in Ireland on Suspicion of Fraud

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Nox Guni Arrested
Source:Nox Guni Music

Zimbabwean urban grooves singer Enock Guni, popularly known as Nox, found himself behind bars over the weekend following his arrest on allegations of credit card fraud by Dublin police in Ireland. As a result, his highly-anticipated performance at the Button Factory on Friday had to be cancelled.

According to a report published by The Irish Sun, Nox had been staying at Dublin’s Hard Rock Hotel in Temple Bar. When settling his bill of €787 (US$861), which included room service charges, it was discovered that he had made the payment using an American woman’s credit card number, leaving her shocked.

Consequently, instead of taking the stage for his performance, Nox was arrested for deception. He underwent questioning and was subsequently held in police custody until his appearance before Judge John Hughes at a weekend sitting of Dublin District Court.

During the proceedings, Nox compensated the hotel for their financial loss, and he additionally made a charitable contribution of €100. Judge Hughes, taking into account the potential impact on Nox’s career and ability to tour, opted not to convict the singer. In return, Nox agreed to visit St Andrews youth club in Pearse Street to educate and inspire the children there with his music, as stated by The Irish Sun.

Following his release on bail, Nox’s case has been adjourned until September, awaiting further legal proceedings. The Irish Sun report also highlights that Nox pleaded guilty to the charge of obtaining services by deception at the hotel, using another individual’s Mastercard number.

In defence of his client, Nox’s lawyer, Alexander Rafter, explained that the singer had not personally made the hotel booking, emphasising that an unnamed promoter had handled the arrangements on his behalf.

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