By Mashudu Netsianda
A woman from Emganwini suburb, Bulawayo who allegedly defrauded musician Mrs Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi of $100 000 in a suspected illegal money changing deal that went sour, appeared in court yesterday.
Lindiwe Moyo (48) connived with Amanda Onwuchukwu and Simanga Gwemende and allegedly swindled Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi of $100 000 before alleging that she lost the money to three suspects — two men and a woman — who had offered her a lift from Beitbridge to Bulawayo only to speed off without her after they had taken a recess in Colleen Bawn.
The money was in a suitcase. Onwuchukwu and Gwemende are still at large.
Moyo appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Adelaide Mbeure charged with fraud. She was remanded out of custody to December 14 on $300 bail.
As part of bail conditions, she was ordered to reside at her given address and to report thrice a week at ZRP Commercial Crimes Division in Bulawayo.
Moyo was also ordered to surrender her passport to the clerk of court and not interfere with State witnesses.
Prosecuting, Mr Mufaro Mageza, said on October 12 this year, Moyo allegedly ganged up with Onwuchukwu and Gwemende and hatched a plan to defraud Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi of her money.
“The accused person and her accomplices misrepresented to the complainant that they were in a position to source foreign currency for her. The complainant gave the accused person $100 000,” said Mr Mageza.
It was not mentioned in court papers how the accused person and her accomplices intended to source the foreign currency.
It is however, a punishable criminal offence to illegally deal in foreign currency.
The court heard that upon being given the money, Moyo and her accomplices failed to source the foreign currency and hatched a plan to file a false report at West Nicholson Police Station purporting to have lost Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi’s money to robbers.
Moyo alleged that she lost the money while bringing it back to Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi who wanted it.
She said she lost the cash after people who had offered her a lift from Beitbridge sped off leaving her behind in Colleen Bawn.
“The report was later proved to be false and the accused person was charged and convicted for making a false police report. As a result of accused person’s actions, the complainant suffered actual prejudice of $100 000 and nothing was recovered,” said Mr Mageza.
The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of Moyo while her accomplices are still on the run.
Moyo is being represented by Mr Admire Zvongouya of Liberty Mcijo and Associates.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has used temporary powers to enact a new law that will see illegal currency traders being sentenced to up to ten years in jail, while ill-gotten wealth will be confiscated.
Under regulations that come into effect last week, Government will track unexplained movement of money in the financial system.
President Mnangagwa’s intervention, which involves amending the Exchange Control and Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Acts, is through constitutional provisions of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
Parliament needs to approve the law within six months to make it permanent.
The new law prescribes a maximum 10-year custodial sentence for illegal currency traders, and authorities will be empowered — through the Unexplained Wealth Orders Statute — to confiscate ill-gotten wealth.
The President recently said police investigations have proved that illegal money changers operating from the streets were just pawns in the black market scheme.
He said wanton illicit currency deals have disturbed the economy resulting in massive market failure, manifesting in complete collapse of the pricing framework for virtually all commodities. The Chronicle