Nqobile Tshili/Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Correspondents
A WOMAN from Emganwini suburb in Bulawayo has accused musician Mrs Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi of viciously demanding that she repays nearly $90 000 which was stolen last week in an illegal money changing deal that went sour.
Mrs Lindiwe Moyo lost $80 000 (bond) and US$ 8 330 to three suspects — two men and a woman — who offered her a lift from Beitbridge to Bulawayo only to speed off without her after they had taken a recess in Colleen Bawn.
The money was in a suitcase.
It has since emerged that the money allegedly belonged to Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi who had offered it to Ms Simangani Gwemende — an illegal money changer.
In an interview yesterday, Ms Gwemende said although she was employed by Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi to trade the money on the forex black market, she “subcontracted” Mrs Moyo — another illegal money changer — to do the job as they have always done.
She said Mrs Moyo lost the money while bringing it back to Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi who wanted it.
The matter was reported to the police who have since launched investigations into the theft of the money.
Ms Gwemende said Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi is now demanding that she pays back the money and allegedly forced her to sign an affidavit saying she would pay US$1 000 every day until the “debt” is cleared.
“I work with Sandra Ndebele the singer. She usually gives me money in cash bond notes or bank transfers so that we can buy US dollars. So I also work with several other people who have their own ways of getting the US dollars. So what happened is that she had given me $100 000 bond notes to change it into forex as usual,” she said.
Ms Gwemende said after buying about US$11 000, Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi demanded the rest of the money but due to commitments elsewhere, she engaged Mrs Moyo to take it to her.
She said Mrs Moyo lost the cash after people who offered her a lift from Beitbridge sped off leaving her behind in Colleen Bawn.
Ms Gwemende said Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi is now demanding the stolen money in US dollars only and wants US$55 923.
She said Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi is now claiming that “they are playing her” and the theft story was stage-managed.
“Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi said she doesn’t care about Lindy’s stories as she never engaged her although she knows that this is how we operate. We operate as groups and in my last eight months working with her, I’m not the only one who has been delivering the cash to her. I usually tell her who would be bringing it to her. But because the money has been stolen she blames me alone. She is now demanding that I give her US$1 000 per day and forced me to sign an affidavit to that effect,” Ms Gwemende.
When The Chronicle contacted Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi, she claimed that she did not know Ms Gwemende and had nothing to do with the issue.
However, this newspaper is in possession of an affidavit written by Ms Gwemende naming Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi in the case.
“I Simangani Gwemende acknowledge receiving $55 923 (fifty five thousand nine hundred and twenty three dollars) from Sandra Ndebele (ID number supplied) and promise to pay each and every day any amount I get not less than $1 000 (one thousand dollars) towards my repayment,” reads the affidavit which was signed by a Commissioner of Oaths stationed at ZimPost building in Bulawayo on October 18, 2018.
Ms Gwemende confirmed that the affidavit in The Chronicle’s possession is the one which the singer forced her to sign.
Over the weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said police investigations have proved that illegal money changers operating from the streets were just pawns in the black market scheme.
The President said wanton illicit currency deals have disturbed the economy resulting in massive market failures, manifesting in complete collapse of the pricing framework for virtually all commodities.
President Mnangagwa said arrests are imminent.