Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE have arrested a serial fraudster who got away with about US$60 000 after swindling illegal money changers in Bulawayo and Harare.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the arrest of Malvirn Mtanda (35) from Harare.
Asst Comm Nyathi did not reveal the number of fraud cases Mtanda is facing but said he allegedly committed the offences between July last year and last month.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police have arrested a serial fraudster for swindling unsuspecting members of the public of more than US$60 000 in Harare and Bulawayo. The suspect Malvirn Mtanda aged 35 years was found in possession of identity particulars in the name of Gerald Magaya aged 36,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said Mtanda would develop good relations with his victims before pouncing on them.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the accused defrauded a money changer from Bulawayo on Monday last week before cops tracked him to his hideout in Harare. “On the 17th of February 2020, the accused approached the complainant and asked him to assist change a substantial amount of money into RTGS. The accused claimed that he had US$ and wanted ZWL cash. The complainant gave the accused person RTGS $105 000 after collecting the money from his colleagues. The accused thereafter said he wanted to change an additional US$4 000 to RTGS through Ecocash,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said after being given the money, Mtanda told his victim to drive to a city hotel where he said he was booked.
Asst Comm Nyathi said upon arrival at the hotel, he told his victim to remain in his car while he went to collect the money but instead he vanished.
He said Mtanda’s victim reported the matter to the police, leading to his arrest in Harare.
“It was also established that the suspect had been defrauding people since July 2019 using the same modus operandi. One of the complainants in Harare was swindled of US$35 000,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said the victim who lost the US$35 000 was a businessperson who buys and sells computers.
Asst Comm Nyathi said Mtanda told his victim that he could change his US$35 000 into RTGS but he disappeared with the money.
“Members of the public are implored to engage in legal and clear financial transactions with banks and registered merchants,” warned Asst Comm [email protected]