3 months in jail for bogus security firm operator

A Harare man who purported to be operating a security firm allegedly owned by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and went on to defraud 58 aspiring security guards, was yesterday sentenced to three months in prison by a Mutare magistrate.

Edmore Siwela (46) was convicted by magistrate Sharon Chipanga of fraud and sentenced to three months behinds bars in a matter prosecuted by Fletcher Karombe.

It emerged during cross examination the purported firm was bogus and Siwela could not explain
reasons for implicating the Police Commissioner-General.

Charges against Siwela are on July 8 last year, he advertised security guard positions in Mutare under World Security Services (Pvt) Ltd.

The firm, which he reportedly claimed had branches in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru, wanted to open an area office in the eastern border city.

According to Siwela, the company was Chihuri’s private project.

Part of the advert which was produced in court read: “Only 25 guards wanted very urgently. Come to number 139 Herbert Chitepo and 10th Avenue starting from 7:30-4:30pm. Very good salary, working conditions. First come, first serve. By management.”

As a result 58 people from around Mutare responded and were asked to pay $10 to facilitate fingerprint vetting.

After receiving the $580 from the 58 job seekers, Siwela disappeared, leaving the aspiring guards desperate.

They reported the matter to police, who then arrested him and brought him to court to answer to fraud charges.

It was then established the firm was non-existent and had no links with Chihuri.

Siwela had also flighted adverts to potential clients stating his security guards were properly trained and approved by the police Criminal Investigations Department.

During cross-examination, Siwela stunned the court when he broke down after asked to explain why he tarnished the image of Police Commissioner-General.

Passing sentence, Chipanga said a deterrent sentence would be appropriate and three months would be proper considering Siwela had been in police custody since his arrest in July last year.

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