Monday 21 February 2022


At least 14 people have been duped of nearly US$20 000 in a scam in which they contributed US$10 every day with the promise of getting a Honda Fit Hybrid, holidays and other prizes and benefits.

The elaborate scheme, dubbed the Econet Youth Promotion Programme, had people who presented themselves as officials from Econet, including someone claiming to be secretary to founder and executive chairman Mr Strive Masiyiwa.

They allegedly had Econet paraphernalia and branded vehicles, although they had no connection with the company. As a bait, the victims initially got US$100 each as capital to start a business or boost an existing one. Thereafter, they were expected to pay US$60 every week until they reached an agreed amount and then they would choose a vehicle of their choice.

Part of the package that victims were promised in addition included $2 500 cash, a $1 000 grocery voucher, holiday and hotel accommodation worth US$500 and a free contract line. The scam started sometime in August 2021 and people were paying up to around January this year before the inevitable crash. One of the linchpins in the scheme, Tinos Mudema, has since appeared before Kariba magistrate Mr Tapiwa Banda facing 14 counts of fraud. Prosecutor Miss Caren Musiiwa alleged that Mudema of 2339 Nyamhunga 1 Township in Kariba made misrepresentations to the 14 people, leading them to each lose between US$1 100 and US$1 200.

Those who lost money included Lawrence Mavhunga, Learnmore Zhira, Blessing Kamudambo, Nickson Mudzimba, Richard Chirimuhanzi, Mafios Mangirazi, Tinashe Magarangoma, Mike Chamonyonga, Forward Mheremhere, Lazarus Adam, Crispen Stima, Revinuss Musizandare, Robert Sibanda and Ngonidzashe Chido.

The team held a feast at Luna Lodges in Kariba on November 10 last year where a woman was introduced as Mr Masiyiwa’s secretary and addressed them saying the last payment would be made on December 18.

They would then receive their full benefits on December 22.

However, things came to a head when Mudema, who was the face of the scheme, started giving excuses as delays built up, leading to the matter being reported to the police.

Mudema was arrested and his accomplices have not yet been accounted for. Herald


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