Man Duped COS Papers
23 February 2024
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Harare Men Charged for Impersonating CID Officers in Fraudulent Scheme

In a shocking turn of events, two men from Harare have been dragged to court over allegations of impersonating Criminal Investigations Department (CID) police officers and engaging in fraudulent activities. Innocent Chimutsi, aged 44, and Tawanda Marabada, 36, found themselves before Harare Magistrate Mr. Dennis Mangosi, facing two counts of impersonation. The magistrate granted each of the accused US$100 bail, with their case remanded to April 4, pending trial.

The duo reportedly entangled themselves in a deceitful web in January 2024, when Andsen Patson stumbled upon a Facebook advertisement they had posted. This advert falsely offered Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) for individuals aiming to travel to the United Kingdom. Patson, eager to secure a COS for his wife’s travel plans, fell prey to their scheme. He transferred a hefty deposit of 4,000 British Pounds out of the total charge of 5,500 British Pounds to the fraudsters, following an agreement to settle the balance upon receipt of the COS. The payment was made through Patson’s uncle, who resides in the UK.

The plot thickened when Patson received what was purported to be an offer letter and the COS via a WhatsApp account. However, his excitement turned to dismay upon discovering that the COS was counterfeit during his wife’s visa application process. Attempts to reconnect with Chimutsi and Marabada proved futile, leading to a frustrating silence from the accused parties.

The situation took an even more bizarre turn on February 20, when Chimutsi, using the same Facebook account, reached out to Patson. This time, he deceitfully claimed to be a CID detective investigating the case—a case that Patson had never reported to the police. Sensing the anomaly, Patson consulted officers at Harare Central Police, who devised a sting operation.

Under police surveillance, Chimutsi brazenly demanded US$100 from Patson, allegedly for fuel expenses to recover the lost money, along with an additional demand of 500 British Pounds as compensation upon recovery. The trap was set for a meeting at the Monomutapa Building. The rendezvous led to the apprehension of Chimutsi and Marabada by ZRP Harare Central police officers, exposing their charade as fake detectives.

This case shines a spotlight on the alarming trend of social media being used as a platform for sophisticated scams, ensnaring unsuspecting victims through the guise of official authority. It serves as a stark reminder of the vigilance needed when dealing with online transactions and the importance of verifying the authenticity of such offers.