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US$100,000 fraud couple on the run

by Staff reporter
06 Feb 2024 at 04:35hrs | Views
A BULAWAYO couple that allegedly defrauded residents for 12 months, raking in over US$100 000 in proceeds, is on the run after violating their bail conditions.

Melusi Ndlovu and his wife, Gwendoline Ndlovu, were granted bail pending trial.

They were initially arrested at the beginning of 2023 before the court released them on bail. They are now facing additional charges.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said members of the public with information on the couple's whereabouts should report them to any nearest police station.

"Police are appealing for information that may assist in arresting Gwendoline Ndlovu, a female adult aged 35 years, and Melusi Ndlovu, a male adult aged 36 years. Both were residing at the same house in Sunninghill, Bulawayo. They are wanted in connection with a case of fraud," he said.

Between 2022 and last year, the two posed as agents of an undisclosed company that helps people secure jobs, and work permits including processing travelling documents for people intending to work in Canada, and the United Kingdom.

"The complainants got interested and paid fractions of the total amounts charged which was US$4 000 and payment plans were made between the complainants who could not raise the full amounts and the accused," said Insp Ncube.

He said when complainants realised that they had been duped, the pair became evasive.

"Realising that they were under pressure from the complainants, the accused persons vacated their known office without notice and became evasive. On 3 May last year, one of the complainants got information that the accused persons were vacating their office and she alerted the police leading to the accused persons' arrest," said Insp Ncube.

He said 37 complainants suffered a combined prejudice of US$99 751.

"We are appealing to anyone with information that can lead to their apprehension to contact the investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector Ngwenya on 0772 884 117 or to report at any nearest police station," said Insp Ncube.

Upon their arrest, the Ndlovus appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Nomagugu Maphosa, who granted them $100 000 bail each.

As part of the bail conditions, they were supposed to continue residing at their given address until the matter was finalised.

They are facing fraud charges and misrepresenting themselves as agents of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

They claimed they could facilitate the migration of Zimbabweans to the United Kingdom.

According to court papers, it is alleged that the pair misrepresented themselves as agents of IELTS, swindling people of various amounts of money.

 "The couple was approached by eight people from Bulawayo on different occasions and they were told to pay US$ 4 000 each to get the services. The victims paid fractions of the US$4 000 and payment plans were made since they could not raise the full amount," read court documents.

The complainants are alleged to have been interviewed on different occasions through WhatsApp video and audio calls by a male person who purported to be working with the accused persons and they were told that they had passed the English test.

"They were then given assurances that the process would take between two to three weeks from the date of interviews. The accused persons started giving complainants different reasons till they were under pressure and decided to vacate their known office without notice," read court papers.

On 3 May last year, one of the complainants was informed that the accused persons were vacating their office and removing their property.

"She phoned the police, who then arrested Melusi. Gwendoline was also arrested on the same day at Bulawayo Central Police."

Source - The Chronicle
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