12 months jail for Eco­cash fraud­ster

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tanaka Mrewa

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

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