Bogus minister, wife in fraud storm

By Tendai Rupapa

A Harare couple allegedly swindled an EcoCash agent of more than $3 000 after the husband posed as a Cabinet Minister who wanted to buy a vehicle, with his wife acting as the seller, before they borrowed money for excise duty from the agent.

Daisy Hazvinavarwi approached Aleck Kalasawo, an EcoCash agent who works for the complainant, Enia Dafana, and borrowed $3 208 from him on the pretext that she wanted to pay duty for a vehicle she had imported on behalf of the minister.

She promised to pay back the money the following day after receiving her payment from the said minister. Hazvinavarwi allegedly vanished after receiving the money.

Her husband and alleged accomplice, Tawanda Major (36), was arrested and appeared before magistrate Ms Barbara Chimboza charged with fraud yesterday.

He was remanded to May 22. Prosecutor Ms Linda Gadzikwa alleged that on April 16, Hazvinavarwi went to Dafana’s EcoCash booth where she saw Kalasawo.

She allegedly told Kalasawo that she had imported a motor vehicle from South Africa and it was at the border pending payment of duty.

She further told him that she had imported the vehicle on behalf of a certain minister, whom she said wanted to buy the vehicle and would only pay for it once it had been delivered to him.

Hazvinavarwi, the State alleged, sweet-talked Kalasawo and asked him to give her $3 208 for the said duty, which she promised to pay back the following day after receiving her money from the minister.

Without any suspicions, Kalasawo then transferred $1 160 into Hazvinavarwi’s mobile phone and she went away.

According to the State papers, Kalasawo and Hazvinavarwi’s relationship was not clear.

It is the State’s case that Hazvinavarwi returned the following day and further misrepresented to Kalasawo that the minister had maintained that he would not release any money before seeing the said vehicle.

She then asked Kalasawo to give her the balance of $2 048 so that she would pay the duty.

Kalasawo gave in and asked his workmates who operate EcoCash booths owned by the same complainant, to send money into Hazvinavarwi’s EcoCash account.

Hazvinavarwi reportedly received a total of $2 048 and according to the State, Kalasawo requested to see the said minister so that he would verify with him if indeed Hazvinavarwi was telling the truth.

The court heard that Hazvinavarwi then took Kalasawo to her house in Borrowdale, where they met her husband who posed as the said minister.

Major was holding a small bag and Kalasawo was allegedly told that it contained money which was meant for the payment of the vehicle.

Kalasawo believed that the transactions were genuine, but that was the last day he saw Hazvinavarwi and Major, prompting Dafana to make a report to the police.The Herald

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