Lovemore Kadzura Rusape Correspondent
A MUTARE man who masqueraded as a Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) official and duped four Rusape teachers about $880 via Ecocash mobile money transfer has been arrested and arraigned before the court.
Lovemore Joel Mhlanga (59), of 256B OTS, Sakubva , Mutare pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Rusape magistrate Ms Patience Ururu-Madondo facing four counts of fraud. Mhlanga, who is represented by Mr Tendai Bvuma of Bvuma and Associates, is out on $30 bail and was expected back in the dock yesterday (Thursday).
Prosecutor Mr Never Shiku told the court that Mhlanga picked information that Mavhudzi High School wanted to launch a driving school for its students and contacted four teachers at the school claiming he is a VID official. Mhlanga allegedly told the unsuspecting teachers that he also operates a private instructor’s driving school and sweet-talked them into sending him money through Ecocash.
“On October 23, 2017 Lovemore Rambiyawo, a teacher at Mavhudzi High was sent by the school to the Vehicle Inspection Department to inquire on how the school could start a driving school to benefit students at the school. Mhlanga through unknown means picked the information and on October 24, 2017 at around 1500hrs phoned the school using mobile number 0736308644 claiming that he was a VID official and also owned a private instructor’s driving school and was prepared to assist the them.
“The accused person then convinced the complainant to deposit $150 into his Ecocash account 0782218774 registered in his name. The complainant sent $70 on October 24, 2017 and $80 on October 25, 2017. Mhlanga was supposed to meet Rambiyawo on October 26, 2017 but he could not locate him,” said Mr Shiku.
Mr Shiku further told the court that Mhlanga applied the same modus operandi to dupe three other teachers at the school.
“Tambudzai Chiwara was advised by her workmate Lovemore Rambiyawo that a VID official had called the school asking for well wishers to train as driving instructors. Chiwara developed interest and deposited $250 in Mhlanga’s Ecocash account 0782218774. Ronia Muzowaka, a teacher at Mavhudzi High, also deposited $230 into Mhlanga’s Ecocash account as well as Egness Makondora who deposited $250. All the four complainants were supposed to meet the accused person on October 26, 2017 but they could not locate him,” said Mr Shiku.