By Bruce Ndlovu
Crack South African investigative unit, The Hawks, are on the trail of an alleged fugitive from Zimbabwe identified as Bruce Nyamurima, whom they believe executed, with connivance of a sophisticated crime syndicate, an elaborate scam to defraud a Pretoria company of R5 million.
The Hawks and other South African law enforcement agencies have been on the trail of Nyamurima, whom they suspect has been a vital cog in the execution of the scam, since December.
He has been posted on various social media law enforcement agency pages as a person of interest in an ongoing investigation.
The Hawks are South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) which targets organised crime, corruption, economic crimes and other serious crime referred to it by the President or the South African Police Services (SAPS).
The investigation into the fraud allegations was initiated by well-known South African financial crime investigation firm, IRS Forensic Investigations and reported to the SAPS under the case number SAPS CAS 1066/12/2019 at Pretoria Central Police Station.
“We can confirm that Bruce Nyamurima, a Zimbabwean citizen, is the prime suspect in a case in South Africa involving a Pretoria business that was defrauded in excess of R5 million in an elaborate tender scheme involving the fabrication of documents,” forensic investigator Mr Chad Thomas of IRS Forensic Investigations said from South Africa.
Mr Thomas said Nyamurima, who has since gone into hiding but was reportedly spotted around Bulawayo during the festive season, did not deny the crime when IRS contacted him but expressed fear that a shadowy mafia-like organisation might persecute him if he returned to South Africa.
“Nyamurima is suspected to be back in his home country of Zimbabwe. When contacted by investigators from South Africa, Nyamurima did not deny his role in the fraud, instead he alluded to the involvement of an alleged mafia type group and stated that his life would be in danger if he returned to South Africa to give his version of events,” Mr Thomas said.
The forensic investigator revealed that authorities did not believe that Nyamurima had been acting alone, as the crime was too complex to be a one-man job. He said the initial charge of fraud would soon be changed to include other criminal offences.
“This was a very complex fraud. Nyamurima did not act alone when perpetrating this crime. He definitely had help.
“Our investigation has revealed that a joint criminal enterprise existed and we will be making representations to change the charges to racketeering, money laundering and proceeds of crime,” Mr Thomas said.
Arrests by the Hawks, he said, were imminent while they also wanted the International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol to issue a red notice on Nyamurima.
Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
“We are expecting the authorities to make several arrests in this matter and are extremely satisfied in the manner in which the Hawks are conducting the investigation.
“Further to this, we will request that the National Prosecuting Authority request the extradition of Nyamurima so that Interpol can issue a Red Notice for his arrest,” said Mr Thomas. Sunday News