Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau
Over 400 people besieged Mvuma Police Station baying for the blood of a 60-year-old woman who initiated a pyramid scheme that collapsed and prejudiced them of more than US$80 000.
Police arrested Rudo Takaendesa (60) who works for a funeral services firm in Mvuma, who initiated Devine Gifting Club in December last year. Members quickly gathered at the police station when news of Takaendesa’s arrest spread through the town and demanded their money.
The mob only dispersed after police assured them the matter was under investigation. More arrests are expected.
Thousands of people in the Midlands province have joined elaborate schemes known as Gifting, Flower or Royal club. Police have warned members of the public against joining such clubs as they stand to lose their money. Members have been paying a joining fee of US$20 anticipating to be paid more than US$300 when they bring in more members who join with US$20 or more.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko confirmed the surge in money schemes in the province.
“Members of the public are warned to be alert and watch out following the emergency of seemingly sophisticated fraudsters duping innocent people of money through what they call Gifting, Flower, Royal Clubs or Mukando.
“Police in Mvuma received a report in which more than 400 people were duped of money in United States dollars estimated to be more than US$80 000 through the schemes,” he said.
Insp Mahoko said the report was received at Mvuma Police Station on Valentine’s Day while the fraudulent schemes were reported to have been running in Mvuma since December 2020.
“One person identified to have allegedly initiated the scheme in the small town has been arrested and is in police custody while investigations continue. She is Rudo Takaendesa (60) . . . ” said Insp Mahoko.
He said Takaendesa is alleged to have created Devine Gifting Club and 20 sub-groups with administrators. The sub administrators, Insp Mahoko, said went on to create their own groups of 16 people each.
“Members of the public were made to pay US$20 joining fee each which would benefit each administrator US$320,” he said.
Insp Mahoko said 250 groups were created and all contributed money to Takaendesa and her associates, prejudicing people who were members of the groups.
“The matter is now being investigated to establish the degree of participation of all people involved. When the news of the arrest filtered in the Mvuma community a crowd of about 400 people gathered at the police station all baying for the blood of the chief administrator of the club. They only disappeared on getting assurance that the matter is under investigations,” he said.
Insp Mahoko appealed to members of the public to stay away from the clubs as they are being created by criminals to swindle people.