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‘Ponzi scheme fraudsters don’t deserve bail’

THE State yesterday said ponzi scheme fraudsters did not deserve to be released on bail to protect the public which often falls prey to the scams due to economic hardships.

State prosecutor Anesu Chirenje said this while opposing bail against Gweru businessman Emmanuel Chikweza of Homelife Furniture and Electical Appliance Company who duped Harare car dealer Brighton Ushendibaba of US$80 000 in a ponzi scheme.

Chikweza is being charged together with his company.

“If this accused person is released into society, he will be a danger to the public and they (the public) should be protected from such people and keep them in remand,” Chirenje argued.

“The accused also tampered with evidence, it is very clear that bail can be opposed if there is tampering with evidence. The evidence by the investigating officer was not rebutted. He also tried to encourage witnesses not to testify before the court.  That on its own is rendering the defence case defective. The State has overwhelming evidence before the court. There is high risk that if granted bail, he is a person of financial means to evade trial,” Chirenje said.

But Chikweza’s lawyer MacKenzie Ndebele said his client would not abscond since he was of fixed abode.

Magistrate Dennis Mangosi postponed bail ruling to today.

Allegations are that sometime in January 2023, Chikweza approached Ushendibaba and misrepresented that if complainant gave him US$80 000 he would get a monthly profit of US$25 000 as return for the investment in addition to his US$80 000 deposit.

Acting upon the misrepresentation, complainant handed over US$80 000 to Chikweza.

The State alleges that Chikweza later became evasive, leading to his arrest after it became clear he was running a ponzi scheme

As a result, complainant suffered prejudice of US$80 000 and nothing was recovered.


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