AN illegal money changer who swindled his colleagues in Bulawayo of more than $18,000 was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Tichaona Dzingira, 33, of Kuwadzana suburb in Harare, approached seven of his osiphatheleni colleagues on March 6, this year and extracted varying amounts of money after promising to return the following day and pay it back.
Thobekile Ngwenya, 45, Tarisai Mapasure, 22, Brighton Mapasure, 22, Isaac Shonhiwa, 27, Farai Vengeu, Tasara Muzvarigwi, 35 and Perfect Tagura, 17, who are also illegal money changers operating from Nkulumane Complex, were livid after Dzingira did not return as promised.
He disappeared with $17,100 and R17, 000 which he had taken after promising to pay it back in Rand and Pula.
After disappearing, Dzingira approached the seven two months later and claimed that he had been robbed of the money in Zvishavane.
They did not buy his story and reported him to the police.
The illegal money changer appeared before magistrate Themba Chimiso at the Western Commonage magistrates court facing seven counts of fraud.
He pleaded not guilty, but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.
In passing sentence, the magistrate said Dzingira’s behaviour was aggravatory as he showed that he had no regard for the law or others.
“This is a substantial amount of money where the complainants suffered serious prejudice. It’s aggravatory that Dzingira faces seven counts of fraud showing he has no regard for the law or others,” ruled Chimiso.
“He was on the wrong side of the law and it’s sanctions that sustain the criminal justice system. It’s not enough for Dzingira to only serve a custodial sentence, it should be coupled with an order for restitution as the prejudice should be made good”.
Prosecuting Kenneth Shava told the court that on March 6 at around 12noon, Dzingira approached Ngwenya at Nkulumane Complex and asked for R17, 000.
“Dzingira was supposed to return an amount of $1,500 the following morning. Instead of returning the money, he disappeared. At around 7PM the same day, Dzingira approached Tarisai and asked for $2,000. He was also supposed to return an amount of R20, 000 the following day but he never did,” said Shava.
He said during the same night, the illegal money changer asked for $5,600 from Brighton and promised to return it as P56, 000.
“He went to Shonhiwa’s place of residence and asked for $1,200 and also promised to return an amount of P12, 000 the following day which he never did. Dzingira proceeded to Muzvarigwi at Nkulumane Complex and as the norm asked for $1 000,” said Shava.
The court heard that at around 8PM the same day, Dzingira asked for $3,300 from Vengeu and said he would give back P33, 000 the following day, but did not show up as promised.
Shava said Dzingira’s last victim was Tagura whom he asked for $2, 500.
Once again, he disappeared with the money and failed to return with the P25, 000 as he had promised.-Chronicle