Saturday, 20 June 2020

POSB ATTEMPTED HEIST : TRIO FREED


A POSB accounts officer Mercy Meda and police assistant inspector Tawanda Martin Mavhiya together with another man John Nyika, who are facing charges of attempting to defraud the bank of $158 million after tampering with the banking system were yesterday freed on $5 000 bail each.

Harare magistrate Ms Barbra Mateko ordered the trio to report twice a week at the nearest police station as part of their bail conditions.

The trio, who were represented by lawyers Paida Saurombe and Obey Shava are being charged with fraud with an alternative charge of unauthorised access to or use of a computer or network.

In her bail ruling, Ms Mateko said the State failed to give compelling reasons on why the trio’s freedom should be taken away pending trial. 

Magistrate Mateko noted that the trio were of fixed abode and the request for bail was reasonable.

The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti had on Wednesday opposed granting of bail for the trio saying they were flight risk.

Mr Mutsokoti told the court that there was overwhelming evidence against them in the form of receipts of items purchased from proceeds of crime and cellphones used in the commissioning of the alleged crime.

Meda, through her lawyer Saurombe, told the court that she was not linked to her co-accused.

Saurombe said she was sleeping at home at the time the alleged offence was committed. Mavhiya and Nyika, through their lawyer Shava, told the court that they were not flight risk.

Mavhiya said he was about to resign from the police service after serving 19 years. He said he cannot afford to lose his pension and benefits by running away from a weak case.

Circumstances leading to the trio’s arrest are that they connived with four others who are still at large to defraud POSB.

In pursuant to their plan, on June 13, 2020 Meda allegedly made a $32million deposit into Mavhiya’’s bank account. 

On the following day, Mavhiya and Nyika went to TM Supermarket in Borrowdale, OK Supermarket in Harare’’s city centre and Spar Sam Levy where they purchased groceries worth $6 768.

Meda is also alleged to have deposited $30 000 into Audrey Nhokwara, Harzel Makarawu, Tanaka Trevor Muradzi and Chipo Fifteen’s bank accounts.

On June 15, the POSB international banking manager Caroline Mugonera reconciled transactions that were made on June 13 on the general ledger account.

The court heard that Magonera noticed some transactions with high values which had irregular sources.

Magonera is said to have notified the POSB Bank authorities who then managed to reverse $156 690 000 from five accounts.

On the same day, Mavhiya and Nyika were arrested leading to the recovery of groceries worth $4 264.68.  The three are expected back in court on July 30, 2020. Herald

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