Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Four NetOne employees arrested for stealing US$700 000 worth of airtime

Four NetOne employees were arrested for allegedly stealing airtime worth ZWL566 million (US$708 385).

The suspects were reportedly sold out by a whistleblower who tipped the chief executive and Zimbabwe Republic Police Commercial Crimes Unit about the crime that was committed between December 3 2022 and January 19 2023.

The four employees Primrose Maireti, Kumbulani Nyapfumbi, James Mwanza and Simbarashe Mandimutsira worked in cahoots with a wholesale airtime dealer whom they supplied the pin-less airtime at massive discount.

The four devised an elaborate scheme in which they would steal pin-less credit airtime which the dealers would sell using the USSD code *171#.

After the tip off, police joined hands with the telecoms company ‘s loss control department in the investigations.

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Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed the development.

“Police detectives teamed up with the Loss Control and Fraud Management Unit to track the suspects leading to the arrest of Mwanza.

“Checks made confirmed that Mwanza received ZWL 50 000 000 worth of pin-less airtime from the deal.”

Following interrogation after his arrest, Mwanza implicated the other three leading to their arrest.

“NetOne employees were sharing the loot with the airtime dealers,”

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police will ensure that company employees and their accomplices face the full wrath of the law for fraudulent activities,” he said.

Following the arrest of the four NetOne employees, the police recovered a Honda Fit vehicle with the registration AFW 6813 that was obtained through the proceeds of the theft from Kumbulani Nyapfumbi.

Investigations have also shown that he spent US$11,000 on a residential stand and US$3,971 on a second Honda Fit vehicle with the chassis number GE6-1744428.

The vehicle is currently on its way from Japan.

This is not the first time that NetOne has been the victim of some elaborate fraud schemes by its employees.

Last June, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission arrested a NetOne cashier who stole at least $150 million from the mobile network operator in an elaborate airtime voucher scam.

The 39-year-old cashier was arrested after he went on a car-buying spree and splurged on at least six cars over three years.