Zacc busts card-cloning syndicate

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John Makamure

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has arrested nine people suspected of creating fake national identity cards used to steal $15 million from at least nine pensioners.

The nine are Molyn Mugodi, Kirthmore Magqoka, Joseph Sigauke, John Tevera, Collin Mangome, Isaac Mafa, David Madzinga, Samson Chome and Luckmore Matuku.

In a statement, Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said investigations were ongoing amid indications that more pensioners could have been scammed by the syndicate.

“Allegations are that Magqoka, Sigauke and Tevera would move around town looking for lost plastic national identification cards, and once in possession of these, they would erase the details on the documents,” Makamure said.

“Two other suspects arrested last week, Mangome and Mafa would then provide information of government pensioners who had received their lump sum payouts. The information included potential victims’ names, bank account numbers, national identity numbers, dates of birth, and their respective banks. They would also get the same information in relation to account holders whose accounts had substantial amounts of money.”

Equipped with this information, Mugodi would get the defaced national identity cards from Magqoka, Sigauke and Tevera and allegedly print fake national identity cards with the details of the targeted pensioners or account holders bearing the facial images of either Madzinga or Chome.

“The syndicate allegedly targeted pensioners or account holders banking with CBZ to commit the crimes via the bank’s mobile banking facility. With the fake ID cards, Madzinga, Chome and Matuku would then approach Econet agents mostly in small towns across Zimbabwe, and do SIM card replacements leading to their victims’ mobile lines losing network connectivity.

“It is alleged that once in control of their victim’s “new” Econet line, the accused persons would then use it to log into the CBZ mobile banking platform and make cash withdrawals or carry out other transactions,” Makamure said.

Indications are that the syndicate used the money to buy US dollars on the streets, bulk groceries and building materials for resale and share the proceeds.

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