12 months jail for Ecocash fraudster
A CHEGUTU man, who forged an EcoCash message to defraud a businessman of chickens worth $320, was yesterday sentenced to 12 months in jail.
Nigel Makusha (31) composed a message on his mobile phone which read $320 had been deposited into Mr Tarisai Dube’s EcoCash account.
He sent the message to Mr Dube’s phone, “paying” for 32 chickens.
Mr Dube, who did not realise the message did not come from Econet Zimbabwe’s +263164 number, handed Makusha the chickens, a court heard yesterday.
Makusha in his defence said he was not aware his friends had cheated Mr Dube.
He said his two unnamed friends, who accompanied him when he went to collect the chickens, are the ones who defrauded Mr Dube.
“All I knew was that we were supposed to go and get chickens. I didn’t know that my friends had cheated Dube by sending him a fake confirmation message for the transaction,” said Makusha.
Western Commonage Magistrate Miss Tancy Dube suspended three months of the sentence for five years on condition of good behaviour.
She suspended a further four months on condition that Makusha restitutes Dube $320.
He will serve an effecttive five months in prison.
In passing sentence, Miss Dube dismissed Makusha’s claim that he was unaware the message was fraudulent.
“According to the evidence presented in this court, there is nothing that distances you from anything that your friends did. You guys worked as a team to defraud the complainant of his chickens and this court will punish you for such,” said Miss Dube.
The court heard that the two acquaintances are still at large.
Dube, in a warned and cautioned statement, said he had been told the person who was supposed to send the money was in Harare.
“They made a phone call in my presence. Shortly [after] I received a message stating that $320 had been deposited into my account. I didn’t realise that it was a bogus message,” he said.
“I went to Mpopoma shops where they told me the message was fake. I quickly went to confirm at Steward Bank [to understand] whether there had not been any mistake but they told me the same thing.”
Mr Mufaro Mageza prosecuted.
Goats cross the road in Bulawayo’s Kelvin North industrial site yesterday. The growing goat and sheep population in the area poses a risk to urban drivers who may not be on the lookout for livestock