The continuous rise in unemployment rate has created a treacherous culture within our society. Many young people are now using technology as a fulcrum to deceive unsuspecting technology illiterate groups like farmers. Farmers have fallen prey to these cyber criminals.
By Tongai Mwenje
In a story published in the Herald this week, farmers lost close to $5000 to a young man by the name Blessing Mazarura (27).Blessing Mazarura a Seke villager hatched a plan to defraud farmers of their hard earned cash through Econet’s mobile money transfer (Ecocash).
It’s alleged that the young man registered cellphone lines in the names of prominent Zanu-PF politicians which he used to swindle unsuspecting farmers of nearly US$5 000 through dubious farming input schemes.
He would call the farmers using the fraudulently registered lines advising them that they had qualified for agricultural inputs and implements before ordering them to send money for transport through EcoCash. The farmers would fall for the trap because the EcoCash confirmation would indicate that the recipient of the cash was the prominent politician.
Blessing Mazarura used names of prominent politicians to succeed in his plot, names like of the Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa, deputy secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment Cde Tendai Savanhu and committee member Cde Munacho Mutezo were used.
The names of Zanu-PF legislator Cde Daniel Shumba, Mashonaland East Minister of State Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, Arda chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza and MDC-T legislator Mr Innocent Gonese were also included on the list.
Mazarura, of Murisa Village under Chief Seke, appeared before magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei this week who granted him US$100 bail over the charges of fraud involving US$4 867.
He was remanded to July 28.
Prosecutor Miss Sharon Mashavira alleged that between January and June this year, Mazarura bought nine Econet lines and registered them on EcoCash in the names of the prominent politicians.
Muzarura, it is alleged, phoned several farmers from Masvingo, Mutare and Rusape and informed them that they had qualified for an agricultural input and farming implements scheme.
It is alleged he ordered the farmers to deposit money into the EcoCash accounts on the pretext it was meant for fuel to enable smooth transportation of the inputs and implements.
Miss Mashavira said Mazarura would advise the farmers to collect “receipts” from their local council offices as proof of payment.
Mazarura allegedly withdrew the money from EcoCash and converted it to his personal use.
Upon his arrest, he was found in possession of the Econet lines used to commit the offences.
The Missing Link
It’s always important to see things from another angle with regards to how the mobile money transfer operates. I am an Ecocash subscriber, so when registering for Ecocash you have to produce a hard copy of your ID and home address details for you to be eligible to the service. Blessing had all these requirements at his disposal which are not his.
Withdrawing money from your Ecocash account, the same procedure is followed meaning he had the same documents again. Let’s be serious guys, the people we are talking about are serious politicians heading sensitive departments both in the government and their political parties.
What might have transpired? Who might have accessed the IDs of these politicians? If it is an insider, what might be the motive behind? Considering the figures involved, not much for these top politicians, to them it’s just a tip of an iceberg. But who knows, the project appeared to be very lucrative in terms of cashing in lots of funds from farmers across the country?
Remember the Baba Jukwa it’s still hot, and another guy pops up with top politicians hard copy IDs at his disposal. Food for thought