Marriage certificates at hand show that Innocent Nwaolisa married a Zimbabwean woman, Theresa Mavhima, without her consent and using another name, Olisa Anayo Chukwu, he married Shiella Chikovore.
The Nigerian reportedly married Mavhima on May 13, 2002 and married Chikovore on May 14, two years later. The case came to light after Mavhima tried to obtain a passport, but was advised she had to adopt her husband’s surname for her to get the travelling documents.
Mavhima tried to get Nwaolisa prosecuted, but the case was thrown out for want of evidence. It has also been revealed that Nwaolisa was deported in 2002, but it is not clear when he returned to the country under the name Olisa.
At one time, he was arrested for a driving offence and two drivers’ licences, bearing his photograph, under the names Innocent Nwaolisa and Olisa Anayo Chukwu, were recovered.
Following his arrest early this year on the fraud case, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry, after a request from the Department of Immigration, wrote to the Nigerian Embassy in Harare seeking clarification on the two identities.
“The Department of Immigration has the honour (sic) requesting the ministry to check and verify the information from the Nigerian embassy about the named Nigerian national,” reads the letter dated January 16 2012.
“According to our records the Nigerian national is using dual identity with different bio details.”
The Nigerian embassy wrote back indicating that “his full names are Innocent Anayochukwu Nwaolisa and that Innocent is his English name, while Anayochukwu Nwaolisa represents his traditional name”.
“Even though the names on the documents maybe different they belong to the same person,” reads the letter dated January 13 2012.
The embassy explained that Olisa was the shorter version of Nwaolisa “which is in consonance with Nigerian tradition, where names like Babatunde are shortened to Tunde among the Yoruba and Abdulrahman simply as Rahman under the Hausa ethnic groups of Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, Mavhima has been told to apply to the High Court to have her marriage annulled.
“I am not worried how much and how long it will take, all I want is to get to the bottom of this,” she said last week. She warned that there could be several Zimbabwean women facing a similar predicament, as such things were done without their consent.
“There could be many women out there suffering the same way because of this corruption in trusted offices and it has to stop.”
Mavhima confirmed that she had a short relationship with Nwaolisa but denied that they had ever been married. Efforts to get a comment from Chikovore were fruitless.
Home Affairs co-minister, Theresa Makone said she had heard of such cases and the ones that had come to their attention had been dealt with.
“In such cases we have cancelled whatever permits they will be having and expelled them from the country,” she said.
When the latest case was explained, Makone said she would follow it up and “that person would be expelled within 24 hours”.