Daniel Nemukuyu-Investigations Editor
CHIMURENGA musician, Kurayi Rongayi Makore, whose name appeared on the EcoCash number used by fraudsters in a driving licence scam, lots his identity particulars and reported to Mbare Police Station case number 2025/20, it has emerged.
Makore, who was appointed heir to Chimurenga music by Thomas Mukanya Mapfumo, believes the criminals used his particulars to buy lines and abuse them.
The Herald on Monday unearthed a scam where mobile money fraudsters are advertising on social media, offering drivers licences for between US$120 and US$200, and claiming to have insiders at the Central Vehicle Registry who can make these licences.
This syndicate asks for a deposit, usually half of the total fee, through EcoCash and even ask for pictures, and show soft copies of the licence they are making in order to get top-up payments by showing they are making progress.
For payment, the fraudsters exposed by The Herald used EcoCash number 0780508294, a line registered under the name of Kurai Rongayi Makore.
When the payment was not done promptly, the man called using a different number 0772 255 640 registered in the name of Tawanda Chando until the money was transferred.
For WhatsApp, the criminals used Econet number 0779 146 852 registered in the name of Tafara Jacob Madhlira.
After publication of the story this week, The Herald interviewed Makore with a view to establish the truth.
Makore said he was shocked to learn that his name was being used in the fraud.
“Yes, my name is Kurai Rongayi Makore but I do not know anything about the fraud. I was shocked to read the story.
“My national identity card and driving licence were stolen in Mbare around June last year. I reported the matter to Mbare police under reference number 2525 of 2020. The police never came back to me, and then I learn of this disturbing case, he said.
“My brother was the first to see the article in The Herald and informed me of the development.
Upon reading the article, Makore said he approached the nearest police station before being referred to the Commercial Crimes Department at Morris Depot in Harare.
“At CCD, they noted down my details and promised to get in touch with me later.”
Makore suspects the thieves who stole his documents could have used them to acquire the line they used in the licence scam.
“I do not remember using such a line. I suspect the person who stole my identity documents later fraudulently acquired the line for criminal purposes,” he said.
The scams are similar to what people used to do outside the passport office, claiming they were in contact with a corrupt official and then vanish with the bribe, or come back and ask for more saying the bribed official was now greedy.
There are modest degrees of sophistication. One criminal uses different lines for phone calls, EcoCash and WhatsApp, all registered under different names.
To track down the double scam, fraudsters claiming they were in contact with someone with access to the licence-making machine and that they could process the licence with a large deposit or set of deposits, two Herald journalists responded to one of the advertisements circulating on WhatsApp groups and had long chats with the scammers.
One of the advertisements read: “We will take you all the way from the provisional licence to getting a metal disc, all delivery made within a day and not more than three days for those clients living in and out of Zimbabwe (through Swift, Zimpost, Courier Connect, Fedex, DHL . . . Please note that we only offer original documents, the licences will be in the VID system. In need of a driver’s licence in Zimbabwe, take advantage of this amazing opportunity to get driving licence in no time. It’s simple, fast, reliable and genuine VID deals”.
The WhatsApp profile picture that is used by the fraudsters, was downloaded from an online story where TSCZ and Road Rules entered a partnership in 2016.
The picture shows representatives of TSCZ and Road Rules signing the memorandum of agreement for TSCZ to provide the Road Rules mobile app with approved content on Zimbabwe traffic regulations, useful to aspiring drivers.
The Herald Investigations editor posed as a client needing a Class 2 driving licence and was quoted US$200.
The man asked for an initial payment of $2 000 to enable him to start working on the document promising to deliver in a day.
The man demanded an additional $3 000 saying the disc had now been processed but the manufacturers wanted their payment.
After collecting a total of $5 000, the man disappeared.