Con artists rip off travel agent

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A local travel agent lost $70 000 to suspected con artists who sweet-talked its managing director into parting with money from air ticket sales.
Zimexpress Money Transfer and Travel Agents MD Allsa Bibi Ussene unsuspectingly handed $70 000 to two of her trusted clients after they allegedly duped her into believing that they would repay the travel agent within 24 hours.
Allegations against Craig McLean Bonnar and his co-accused Shamaylah Mohammed, who has reportedly skipped the country to South Africa, are that they allegedly deceived Ussene into believing that they had made a telegraphic transfer of $60 000 to offset the debt.
Yesterday, Bonnar appeared before Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei facing charges of fraud and was remanded in custody to July 26.
The state alleged that on May 3 this year, Bonnar and Mohammed approached Ussene, whose company sells air tickets, asking for an advancement of $100 000 which they promised to pay the following day.
Bonnar and Mohammed allegedly told Ussene that they would pay her back through a bank transfer from a South African bank account into a United Kingdom Habib AG Zurich bank account held in London.
As a result, Ussene allegedly gave Bonnar and Mohammed $50 000, which Bonnar allegedly signed for in Ussene’s diary.
On May 5, Bonnar again allegedly approached Ussene and told her that Mohammed was in South Africa but would return in the afternoon on that day with proof to show that the transfer of
$50 000 had been effected.
On that occasion Bonnar allegedly requested for another cash advancement indicating that his financial position was dire. He got a further $20 000 as part of the original agreement which he allegedly signed for in Ussene’s diary. That same day, Bonnar allegedly gave Ussene a telegraphic transfer receipt for $60 000, which was disowned by ABSA bank as fictitious, after Ussene faxed it to her friend Imbran Ismael in South Africa to check its authenticity.
Ussene reportedly further checked with her London bank and was told no money had been received into her account from Bonnar and Mohammed.
The state alleged that Ussene then pressured Bonnar and Mohammed to pay back the money, but they allegedly misrepresented to her that they would make new arrangements to transfer the funds to a Barclays Zimbabwe account in the name of Eddie Chikuka.
Ussene made enquiries with Barclays Bank to verify the account and was told it was fictitious as well.
A report was made to the
police leading to Bonnar’s arrest.

1 COMMENT

  1. To the editor.
    Kindly remove this article, on myself, from this site. If your reporters had been following the case, they would have found that I was acquitted and found not guilty of the allegations of fraud.
    The main instigator and person of interest to the Fraud Squad, is Miss S Mahommed, who is still at large in South Africa.
    You may confirm these details with the courts records and with my Lawyer.

    Kind regards
    Craig Bonnar

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