By Nancy Ndaba | In recent years, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom has witnessed a troubling surge in fraudulent land scams, leaving countless female victims in financial ruin and raising questions about the effectiveness of legal safeguards against such deceitful practices. This includes some concerning signs surrounding the United Kingdom Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and organized fraudulent schemes, which continue to rob communities of their hard-earned cash.
At the heart of one of the most intricate and devastating UK based scam is the enigmatic figure of a Zimbabwean born Sithule Tshuma, UK trained Staff nurse, the founder of Qoki Zindlovukazi, a UK-based company that purports to offer lucrative land development opportunities as empowerment for women in Zimbabwe. This fraudulent scheme, aided by a network of individuals/companies including Karen Kumalo, Nompilo Moyo, Bridget Dube, Witness Sibelu, Lovemore Sibanda, Zibusiso Charles Ncube and Qoki Medical Clinic to name a few, has drawn attention to the need for a deeper analysis of the theoretical framework underpinning such scams.
Sithule Tshuma, a name that has become synonymous with deception and bullying, operates Qoki from her offshore base in the United Kingdom. The company’s modus operandi involves advertising prime land parcels in Zimbabwe to unsuspecting investors, promising substantial returns on their investments. To the untrained eye, these land development projects seem like a golden opportunity, luring in individuals, particularly women in the diaspora, seeking to build their lavish homes or profitable investments in a nation advertised as brimming with potential.
However, beneath the veneer of promise lies a complex web of fraudulent activities that have devastated the lives of many unsuspecting women from Matebeleland, Bulawayo. Karen Kumalo, one of the key players in this nefarious scheme, is married to Thami Cele, a well-known owner of the Locs n Style Studios salon in Norwood, UK. Questions have arisen regarding the possible connection between the ill-gotten gains from the land scam and the funding of this salon empire. Karen’s involvement adds a layer of intrigue to an already convoluted plot, raising suspicions about how deep the roots of this fraud stretch.
Nompilo Moyo, Bridget Dube, Witness Sibelu, Zibusiso Ncube, and Lovemore Sibanda have emerged as key figures in the promotion of Qoki’s land development ventures.
Their active involvement has been instrumental in persuading potential investors of the credibility of these opportunities. By utilizing Qoki Medical Clinic as the designated payment hub for the company, they added an air of legitimacy to the entire operation, particularly targeting unsuspecting women who placed trust in the women’s association with a medical facility. Presently, the full extent of their complicity and participation in this fraudulent scheme is undergoing thorough investigation. Their roles in this elaborate web of deceit are being scrutinized to ascertain the depth of their involvement in the deceptive land projects orchestrated by Sithule’s company Qoki.
What makes this fraudulent land scam particularly troubling is the multi-faceted approach employed by its orchestrators. Deceptive marketing tactics, including the use of falsified land development documents, deception, fake testimonials, and misleading Face Book promotional materials, have been systematically employed to lure unsuspecting investors. These tactics, coupled with the promise of enormous financial returns by Sithule, ‘the land is yours antics’, and ‘clean Title Deeds’, have proven to be highly effective in duping individuals into parting with their hard-earned money.
Furthermore, reports of bullying tactics continue to be used by Qoki and its associates to intimidate and silence those who become suspicious or vocal about their concerns. Threats, harassment, and even verbal aggression/violence have been employed to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the operation. This appalling harassment tactic has also been attempted on journalists who are advocating for the victims.
The complicity of legal professionals in the fraudulent conveyancing processes of these land deals raises additional questions about the mechanisms that enable such scams to persist. Lawyers who should serve as gatekeepers of legality have been implicated in facilitating the fraudulent transactions, thereby further undermining the trust and confidence individuals place in the legal system.
To further delve into the mechanics of such schemes, an in-depth exploration of the theoretical framework behind Sithule Tshuma, a mastermind orchestrating a series of fraudulent land development projects. Sithule’s manipulation of legal processes, utilization of bullying tactics, and collaboration with a legal professional warrants a closer examination of the theoretical underpinnings that enable her activities to persist.
Criminological Theories: Since 2020, Sithule’s Qoki, has over 30 projects worth over US$25 million that have not come to fruition. Most of these projects have skimpy contracts, fraudulent Title Deeds, or no legal documentation. Sithule’s involvement in fraudulent land endeavors can be understood through rational choice theory, where calculated decisions are guided by the balance of benefits and risks. In some land projects, Sithule deliberately inflated prices with intentions of enriching herself. In pursuit of substantial financial gain, coupled with a perceived lack of consequences, fuels Sithule’s engagement in multiple fraudulent projects. Moreover, strain theory sheds light on her resort to criminality due to the disconnection between societal aspirations and lawful avenues. The failure to achieve success within conventional boundaries might be driving her toward fraudulent activities.
White-Collar Crime Theory: Several women that Sithule claims she was empowering are in worse financial recurrence. Sithule’s participation in fraudulent land scams aligns with opportunity theory, suggesting that white-collar criminals capitalize on favorable circumstances. The inadequacy of regulatory measures within the land development sector creates fertile ground for Sithule’s fraudulent operations to flourish.
Social Psychological Theories: Sithule’s reliance on bullying tactics is best examined through deindividuation theory. This theory highlights how individuals, when part of a group, experience diminished self-awareness and heightened impulsivity.
Sithule potentially exploits this psychological phenomenon to coerce victims into compliance and deter them from questioning the legitimacy of his operations.
Aspects of the Fraudulent Land Scam:
Deceptive Land Development Projects: Sithule’s implementation of fraudulent land projects involves intricate manipulations of property records, forgery of ownership documents, and fabrication of development plans.
These actions resonate with theories of white-collar crime and rational choice, where Sithule strategically calculates the benefits of her actions against perceived risks.
Bullying Tactics: Sithule,s resort to bullying tactics underscores her desire for control over victims. By inducing fear and intimidation, she aims to dissuade victims from exposing her operations. The application of deindividuation theory offers insight into the psychological mechanisms at play, as Sithule exploits the diminished sense of accountability that arises in group settings.
Involvement of Professional Lawyer in Fraudulent Conveyancing Processes: The complicity of a legal professional in Tshuma’s fraudulent conveyancing processes underscores ethical concerns within the legal realm. This dynamic can be analyzed through the lens of strain theory, as the lawyer potentially sees an opportunity to bridge financial gaps through illicit means due to perceived societal pressures.
The case of Qoki Sithule Tshuma’s fraudulent land scam serves as a obvious reminder of the intricate web of theories and tactics that underlie white-collar crimes of this nature. While this learning has delved into the theoretical foundations, it is imperative to draw a comparison with similar cases, such as the CoS UK fraud, to identify common patterns and lessons that can be learned.
Comparing Qoki Sithule Tshuma’s operations with the CoS UK fraud reveals striking similarities in their modus operandi. Both schemes rely on deception, manipulation of legal processes, and the exploitation of unsuspecting individuals.
The involvement of seemingly legitimate professionals, like lawyers, Managers, in both cases raises significant concerns about the oversight and accountability within the legal sector, demanding a closer examination of the ethical standards and regulations governing legal and Healthcare practitioners.
Interestingly, an analysis of Sithule Tshuma’s personality also reveals traits that may have enabled her to mastermind such a fraud. Her allure, persuasiveness, and ability to manipulate others continues to play a significant role in deceiving investors. However, it is essential to delve deeper into her psyche to understand the motivations behind her actions. Sithule’s capacity for deceit, manipulation, and callousness aligns with worrying traits. She appears to be indifferent to the harm she causes to her victims and may derive pleasure from their suffering.
These tendencies could be rooted in an underlying personality condition.
On the other hand, examining her psychological health further provides valuable insights into her behavior. It is possible that underlying psychological matters, such as a propensity for deceit, narcissism, or antisocial personality traits, may have contributed to her willingness to engage in fraudulent activities. Questions remain unanswered, ‘how is a professional UK staff nurse engaging in fraudulent activities entrusted to care for vulnerable older people right in the heart of the UK?’ How did all the money deposited into her UK personal bank accounts go unnoticed by banks such as Santander and Barclays?
Where is Action Fraud UK in all this? We are reminded of Tshuma’s confessions to bribery in her own words ‘..ngadiza $4000 for every land permit (I paid $4000 bribery money for every land permit)’.
The case of Sithule Tshuma’s multi-faceted fraudulent land scam serves as a stark reminder of the need to dissect the theoretical framework that allows such schemes to flourish. By analyzing her personality traits, mental health, criminological, white-collar crime, social psychological theories and the complicity of others, we can gain a better understanding of the factors that drive individuals like her to commit such heinous crimes. Furthermore, comparing her case with the UK’s CoS fraud highlights the global nature of fraudulent schemes and the urgent need for international cooperation in combatting them. Ultimately, unraveling the theoretical framework behind these scams is essential for preventing future victimization and upholding justice.