Saturday, October 31, 2020

Senior police officer, employee hit Zimbabwe’s POSB bank with $158 million fraud


A People’s Own Savings Bank (Posb) employee is accused of conniving with a senior police officer and a vendor to tamper with the bank’s system and transferring different amounts defrauding the bank of $158 million in the process.

Mercy Meda (34) who was stationed at Causeway Building, Assistant Inspector Tawanda Martin Mavhiya (40) and John Nyika (26) allegedly tampered with the POSB banking system.

The trio, who were represented by lawyers Paida Saurombe and Obey Shava yesterday appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Barbra Mateko charged with fraud.

Alternatively, they were charged with unauthorised access to or use of a computer or network. The trio was not asked to plead to the charges.

The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti opposed to granting of the trio’s bail saying they were a flight risk.

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Mr Mutsokoti also 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 commission of the alleged crime.

The State also claims to be in possession of text messages between them when planning to commit the offence.

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

She also told the court that she was sleeping at home at the time when the offence was allegedly committed.

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Mavhiya and Nyika, through their lawyer Shava, told the court that they were not a 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.

Magistrate Mateko remanded the trio in custody to today for bail ruling.

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 Meda allegedly made a $32 million 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 Magonera, reconciled transactions that were made on June 13 on the general ledger account.

The court heard that Magonera noted that there were some transactions with high values, which had irregular sources.

Magonera is said to have notified the POSB 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.

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