Bail conditions for $19m Econet fraud suspects relaxed

Ellen Mlambo

CHIPINGE – Chipinge Magistrate Elizabeth Hanzi has relaxed reporting conditions for four Econet employees suspected of swindling their employer of RTGS$19m which they then used to buy foreign currency on the black market.

The four suspects will now report to Police twice a month after the reporting conditions were relaxed from three times a week. The suspects made an unsuccessful appeal to be removed from remand.

They appeared before Hanzi on Thursday who remanded them to September 15, 2020.

The four; Mukai Maringe Mapanzure (sales consultant), Trymore Chimoyo, (brand ambassador Checheche), Javin Tinashe Guwu and Tshando Mandava were arrested in April and were remanded out of custody on $10 000 bail each.

The State alleges that Mapanzure who is regarded as the mastermind directly siphoned the money from Econet and sent it out to foreign currency agents to transfer it into foreign currency.

“During the period extending from December 30, 2019 to 21 March 2020, the accused who is employed by Econet Wireless as a sales consultant based at Chipinge Branch hatched a plan to steal from his employer. In his capacity as an employee with the ability to access the company’s EZW merchant T-Mobile broadband merchant number 0784953460, created a simcard for the complainant’s merchant number and processed a private identification number to access the account.

He also created two agent numbers 0771378844 and 0785042806 and registered them in fictitious names of Nyachidze Primary School and Ariston Holdings respectively. He inserted the counterfeit sim card for merchant number 0784953460 in his mobile cell phone with IMEI number 359725084071720 and misinterpreted as if he was the real owner of the account mandated to effect withdrawals. He transferred large sums of ecocash RTGS amounts on different times to merchant number 0785042806 and 0771378844 thereby causing actual prejudice to the complaint of $5186000-00,”

It is understood that the full prejudice came to light when Chimoyo was arrested.

“The accused person on different times collected forex from street vendors who had received large sums of money from the actual perpetrator. He transformed large sums of realised ecocash RTGS on different times and handed the money to the accomplice thereby facilitating disposal of cash prejudicial to the complainant of RTGS$19 984 475-00,” reads part of the State papers.

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