Codelia Mondela, Court Reporter
A PETROL attendant employed at an Engen Service Station in Bulawayo allegedly defrauded a director at a local company of nearly $10 000 after cloning his ATM card and conducting several unauthorised transactions.
Onias Nkuzuwalela (36) of North End suburb appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove facing theft and fraud charges.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded out of custody to October 27 pending trial. Prosecuting, Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza said the complainant, Mr Vunganayi Muvungani, who is a director at Receptive Investments gave Nkuzuwalela his Steward Bank ATM card so that he could swipe for fuel for clients who had cash and retain the money for him.
The court heard that Nkuzuwalela used the ATM card, but never gave the company director any money. The court heard that on July 27, Nkuzuwalela transferred $1 275 to one Mr Dumisani Mhlanga, a manager at a local shop.
After two weeks, the accused person went to an electrical shop in Gweru where he purchased a home theatre system worth $1 490 using the complainant’s bank card.
“On August 12, Nkuzuwalela, through swiping, bought a home theatre worth $1 490 before proceeding to Zuva and Sakunda service stations, Midlands Spar, Value CT Gweru and Food Mart Gweru where he conducted transactions worth $493,” said Mr Jaravaza.
Two days later, Nkuzuwalela returned Mr Muvungani’s ATM card, telling him that there was insufficient funds in his account. On August 14, the complainant gave one Prince Chavuraya, who is Nkuzuwalela’s workmate another ATM card issued to him by FBC Bank.
He allegedly told him that he wanted cash and requested that the petrol attendant should use it to swipe for people who had cash and keep the money for him.
The court heard that Nkuzuwalela took the ATM card from Chavuraya and replicated it and used it to buy groceries and other items which included an LG home theatre system and two television sets all valued at $6 094.
Mr Muvungani went to the bank on the same day and discovered that his money had been used. He reported the matter to the police, leading to Nkuzuwalela’s arrest.
Recently, Bulawayo police warned members of the public from leaving their cards with bank tellers, till operators or any other person in the hope of being assisted in withdrawing money. They said criminal elements take advantage of such situations to make copies of the cards, containing data that is similar to the original, which they use to make purchases or cash withdrawals.— @MondelaC