A cheating mother adopted a baby, bleached the child’s skin to make it lighter and then tried to pass it off as hers to her lover of Indian origin, a court heard.

Prosecutors in Bulawayo have charged Varaidzo Moyo, 40, with two counts of fraud.

Moyo’s husband, Samuel Chikopa, 30, has also been arrested after investigators indicated they believed he participated in the planning of the elaborate plot designed to reap financial benefits.

The Bulawayo Magistrates’ Court heard the couple are unemployed. Moyo, according to investigators, duped her lover, Milton Parker, into believing that she was pregnant with his child early last year.

She eloped to Parker’s home in Barham Green suburb – authorities say with her husband’s blessings.

Chikopa and Moyo, who share a home in Bellevue, then applied to adopt a baby from the Tredgold District Social Welfare office on July 4, 2011, according to Bulawayo prosecutor Malvern Nzombe.

The couple proceeded to Umuzi Wothando Children’s Home armed with the adoption authorisation and were granted custody of a year-old baby girl.

Once home, Moyo and Chikopa applied some skin lightening substances on the adopted baby’s skin to create the impression she was of mixed race.

Parker, said prosecutors, raised doubts after suggesting the child appeared older than Moyo had claimed.

In a panic, Moyo allegedly swapped the adopted tot for her daughter’s newly-born baby.

The fraud unravelled last week after Moyo refused to return her daughter’s child almost a year on, and she reported her to the police.

Police recovered the adopted baby back to the children’s home where it was placed under medical supervision.

Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Munjanja remanded Moyo and Chikopa in custody to July 6.

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