Tuesday 13 June 2023


IN a case that is stranger than fiction, two men lost a combined US$100 000 to a group of four Ugandans in Harare, who were posing as traditional healers with special powers.

The scammers claimed they could cure any ailment and multiply money.

One victim was asked to pay US$50 000 for a cleansing process.

The second man gave the men US$80 to buy food on their way to the “cleansing” ceremony.

He then lost a bag, which contained US$53 000.

Wakugembe Shafik, who is based in Hatfield, Harare, was not asked to plead when he appeared in court charged with fraud.

The State said on May 1, the first complainant, Tungamirai Mugodo, from Shamva, saw an advert stating that the gang could treat any ailment.

Mugodo travelled to Harare and met with Shafik and his accomplices, who are still at large.

They took Mugodo to Hatfield where they claimed to have a shrine.

He was asked to produce US$50 000 for the cleansing process and he handed the money to Shafik, who wrapped the money with a white cloth.

Shafik prepared some “juju” and gave it to Mugodo to use to bath.

When Mugodo returned from the bathroom, he was handed a bucket with the cloth that the money had been wrapped with, a towel and two bottles of the “juju” to use at home.

Mugodo was given strict instructions not to open the cloth until he was told to do so.

Mugodo went back home with the bucket and didn’t open the cloth.

He was allegedly asked to send US$3 500 to Zambia by Shafik for the cleansing and another US$4 000 to him.

Mugodo failed to send the US$4 000 and the gang started ignoring his calls and he decided to open the bucket.

When he unwrapped the cloth, there was no money, but just papers.

He returned to the shrine, but found no one.

On the other count, it is alleged that a second complainant picked up Shafik and his accomplices at the Harare Showgrounds for a cleansing process.

On their way to the Hatfield shrine, they stopped to buy food and he gave them US$80 to buy lunch.

He took the money from a bag containing US$53 000 he intended to use for the cleansing ceremony.

One of the scammers, who was sitting in the front seat, snatched the bag and fled into the night.

The complainant tried to pursue him, but couldn’t catch him.

When he returned to the car, Shafik and the other man had fled in another car.

The complainant was helped by other motorists who apprehended Shafik, while the others escaped.

They went to Shafik’s house and a trunk full of US$100 notes was found at his residence.

The State opposed bail arguing that Shafik is part of a fraud cartel and is not a suitable candidate for bail. H Metro


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