A FORMER police officer based in Chipinge was last week arraigned before the courts for allegedly swindling people through a pyramid scheme that has since collapsed.
Ngonidzashe Matope (48) of Gaza appeared before Chipinge magistrate,Mrs Elizabeth Hanzi.
He was facing fraud charges.
Matope pleaded not guilty and was remanded out of custody on $5 000 bail.
He will be back in court on August 23 for trial.
Mr Langton Mhungu of Mhungu Law Firm appeared for Matope, while Mr Edmore Mhlanganise prosecuted.
Mr Mhlanganise said between April and July 2021, Matope initiated a pyramid scheme through WhatsApp.
He was the administrator and custodian of the funds raised through the scheme.
“Matope mobilised various complainants to invest US$5 each, saying they would get US$60 after seven days. Acting upon the misrepresentation, a number of people joined the scheme and paid their joining fees.
“After the expiry of the stipulated time-frame, the complainants approached Matope for their pay-outs. However, he dismissed them saying they had donated their money to the less-privileged.
“A cash receipt book and the cellphone used by Matope in his dealings were recovered,” said Mr Mhlanganise.
Testifying during the bail application, the investigation officer, Detective Assistant Inspector Emmerson Ziki said Matope should not be granted bail as investigations are still in progress.
He said more complainants are still coming through to get their statements recorded.
“So far we have been told that he duped people of US$380. Chances are high that the figure will increase.
“The accused also has previous convictions and pending issues before the courts,”said Detective Assistant Inspector Ziki.