TWO suspected fraudsters who allegedly duped 100 unsuspecting aspiring nurses in Chipinge and pocketed $41 000 from the scam were on Monday arraigned in court facing fraud charges.
The suspects Joana Mbindi, who operates a mobile service franchise at Checheche and Alex Mahanga, of House Number 623 Phase 2, Checheche appeared before Chipinge magistrate Mr Poterai Gwezhira facing fraud charges as defined in Section 136 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23.
It was the State case led by Ms Chipo Nyasha that during the period extending July to December 2018, Mbindi and Mahanga connived with four others accused persons Irene Maphosa, Patricia Mlambo, Priscilla Mbindi and Sami Jambaya (all still at large) and approached several unsuspecting complainants with five Ordinary Level subjects promising to enrol them for nursing at Mashoko Mission Hospital.
Ms Nyasha said the accused persons misrepresented to the complainants that they were employed at the hospital and will enrol them for the January 2019 intake.
“The accused persons went on to give the complainants Ecocash numbers 0775902058 and 0774500166 to deposit tuition fees of $1600 per each complainant.
“The complainants then deposited the said money into the accused person’s Ecocash accounts on different occasions.
“The accused persons withdrew the deposited money from various Ecocash outlets. The complainants did not secure any nursing vacancies at Mashoko Mission
Hospital and the value stolen is $41 000 and nothing was recovered,” she said.
In opposing bail, the investigating officer (IO) Sergeant Naison Mandikisi said the accused were facing a serious offence hence and may interfere with state witness if granted bail.
“Investigations are still at a preliminary stage and more witnesses are still filling reports against the accused persons, hence bail is opposed.
“Most of the documentary exhibits have not yet been obtained and if released Joana Mbindi, who is employed by one of the mobile services providers as a sales consultant may temper with the records,” he said.
However, Mr Gwezhira granted them bail of $150 each and ordered them to stay at given address until the finalisation of the matter.
The two were represented by Mr Langton Mhungu, of Mhungu and Kwirira Associates,manicapost