Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Correspondent
TWO Econet Zimbabwe employees based in Chipinge allegedly teamed up to swindle the mobile telecommunications giant of ZWL$24 million in three months.
The duo — Mukai Maringe Mapanzure (35) and Trymore Chimonyo (30) — appeared separately before Chipinge magistrate Mr Poterai Gwezhira facing fraud charges as defined in Section 136 (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
They were granted $10 000 bail each, accompanied with stringent reporting conditions. They are expected back in court on June 30.
Mr Langton Mhungu of Mhungu, Kwirire and Associates appeared for Mapanzure, while Chimonyo did not have a legal representative. Mapanzure was ordered to report at Chipinge Central Police Station every Monday and Friday. He was also told not to visit his workplace at Econet Zimbabwe, Chipinge branch, which is housed at the National Social Security Authority complex.
Chimonyo was ordered to report at Dangamvura Police Station every Monday and Friday and not to visit his workplace in Checheche.
First to appear in court on Monday was Mapanzure, who was employed as a sales consultant in Chipinge.
Prosecuting, Mr Timothy Katsande said from December 30, 2019 to March 21, 2020, Mapanzure was stealing from his employer.
“In his capacity as an employee with the ability to access the company’s merchant mobile broadband merchant number 0784953460, Mapanzure created a sim card for Econet’s merchant number and processed a private identification number to access the account,” he said.
Mr Katsande said Mapanzure proceeded to create two agent numbers — 0771378844 and 0785042806 — and registered them in the fictitious names of Nyachidze Primary School and Ariston Holdings respectively.
“He inserted the counterfeit sim card for merchant number 0784953460 in his Mobicel cellphone account to effect the withdrawals.
“He transferred large sums of EcoCash RTGS on different times to merchant numbers 0785042806 and 0771378844, thereby causing prejudice to Econet, the sum being $5 186 000.
“The Mobicel cellphone and the sim card which was used by the accused to facilitate the transaction were recovered from the accused.
“The complainant’s account history indicates that the Mobicel IMEI number possessed by the accused was the device used during the commission of the offence,’’ said Mr Katsande.
In Chimonyo’s case, which was heard on Wednesday, Mr Katsande said from December 30, 2019 to March 27, 2020, the accused, who was employed as a brand ambassador based at Checheche Growth Point branch, connived with Mapanzure to defraud the company. “Chimoyo assisted his accomplice, Mapanzure, who had created a sim card for the complainant’s merchant mobile broadband number 0784953460. They processed a private identification number to access Econet’s merchant codes.
“Chimonyo’s accomplice, Mapanzure, transferred large sums of money from Econet Zimbabwe’s account into agent numbers 0771378844, 0784718093 and 0785042806. Chimonyo then assisted Mapanzure to dispose the fraudulently acquired large sums of money through acquiring foreign currency from street vendors,” said Mr Katsande.
It is alleged that after buying the forex, Chimoyo handed the money to Mapanzure on different occasions.
Econet Zimbabwe lost ZWL$19 984 475 through this plot and nothing has been recovered.