A RUWA man has appeared in court facing two charges of impersonating a police officer and fraud involving US$98 000.
Shepherd Chibaya, (34) was remanded in custody to today for his bail ruling when he appeared before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi.
It is the State’s case that sometime in February 2019, Mary Chiweshe joined a Ponzi scheme called Beven Capital.
She injected US$150 000 into the scheme and was promised a 100 percent return on investment.
She was added into a WhatsApp group where Chibaya was also a member.
It is alleged that when Chiweshe wanted her US$300 000, she found the Beven Capital Investments offices closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Efforts to get her money from the scheme owners were fruitless as they became evasive.
She engaged Chibaya, who said he was closely linked to the owner.
Days later, Chibaya told Chiweshe that he had engaged Beven Dzinoenda, the owner, and was told that all the scheme’s money was held at Zimra for non-payment of taxes.
It is further alleged that Chibaya told Chiweshe to pay US$58 000 so that the money can be released, and he promised to refund her.
Days later Chibaya claimed he had been given Chiweshe’s US$200 000.
It is alleged that Chibaya then told Chiweshe that he had been intercepted by police detectives and the money was seized.
Chibaya further misled her that detectives wanted US$13 000 to release the US$200 000.
She gave Chibaya US$13 000 anticipating that he would come with the US$200 000 from the police.
On the same day, Chibaya raised a false alarm to Chiweshe that he had been arrested for not settling the debt of another cop and he was in police custody.
The court heard that Chibaya then communicated with Chiweshe, pretending to be a policeman, and demanded US$1 800 in order to release him.
Since Chiweshe was still hoping to get her money, she handed the cash to a taxi driver, sent by Chibaya.
Another surprise came to Chiweshe when she was told that Chibaya was now being taken to court facing other charges.
The following day, Chibaya lied to Chiweshe that he was set to appear in the Harare Magistrates’ Court and needed US$3 800 for legal representation.
Chiweshe went to the Harare Magistrates’ Court and gave Chibaya US$3 200 and her Samsung S20 cellphone as top-up.
Later on, Chibaya texted Chiweshe pretending to be a cop, telling her that Chibaya had suffered brain damage and was admitted under police guard at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and no visits were permitted.
After three weeks, she got a text message saying Chibaya had passed away.
It is further alleged that Chibaya then started masquerading as a cop, calling himself Inspector Kufakunesu, stationed at Morris Depot.
He told Chiweshe that he was willing to help her recover her US$200 000 if she paid US$27 000.
The money was delivered in batches, via a taxi driver sent by Chibaya, who was pretending to be a top cop.
Chibaya’s luck ran out when the complainant reported the matter to the police, who trapped him.
That is when Chiweshe realised that Chibaya was still alive and also masquerading as a policeman.
The investigating officer said Chibaya was not a proper candidate for bail because he is also being accused of duping other people in a similar manner and was out on bail when he scammed Chiweshe.
Zebedia Bofu appeared for the State.