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Serial fraudster ‘sees the light’

23 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Serial fraudster ‘sees the light’ Antony Mhizha (right) with Mbonisi Nyathi

B-Metro

BORN again behind bars!

IT seems one of Zimbabwe’s serial fraudsters Antony Mhizha, who swindled the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) and Mealie Brand in Bulawayo of more than US$93 000 and $25 million respectively, has finally decided to “hang up his stealing gloves”.

His decision to repent came after he discovered that his incarceration had actually destroyed his relationship with his three-year-old daughter.

In an interview with B-Metro at his current base – Bulawayo Prison – Mhizha said his incarceration was one chapter of his life that he regretted.

He said he got involved in crime as a way of trying to make a decent living with his family.

“A lot of people have been wondering how I got into jail. Let me start by saying that it is closely related to the difficult conditions that I was facing as a family man. As a sole breadwinner I was finding it difficult to sustain my family.

“This, however, pushed me to make friends with criminals who would tell me how each and every company was operating so that I could easily defraud them and get away with the money that would quickly make me rich,” he recounted.

Mhizha said his association with the criminals made him swindle companies of millions of dollars without being easily traced as everything was done without the use of force or violence.

This saw him acquiring a vast number of properties that ranged from motor vehicles to residential stands in different cities and towns.

“During my days I used to run my own office in the city centre and this office had all the equipment that I used to defraud companies.

“With assistance from some workers from those companies that I was targeting, I managed to defraud big companies like Zupco and Mealie Brand,” he said.

He then teamed up with a lady who was employed as a finance officer at Zupco depot in Bulawayo and she was also responsible for banking all the money.

“This was after I did my research and discovered that Zupco was one of the companies which was making a lot of money. This is because during the Covid-19-induced lockdown it was the only transport company operating after the Government had banned private-owned commuter omnibuses. With the help of the finance officer we defrauded the company of US$93 000.

“As per agreement, we shared the money equally and the offence was discovered after four months and by that time I had also defrauded Mealie

Brand of about $25 million. As I speak, this is not my first time in prison as I once served six years at Khami Maximum Prison,” he said.

Mhizha said their evil way of getting rich came to light after his co-accused pledged US$7 000 to his pastor in the presence of her manager since they attended the same church in the city centre.

This move forced her manager to carry out an investigation to find out where she got the money from.

That is when it was discovered that she had processed fake receipts from the bank showing that she had deposited US$93 000.

“Investigations also established that the finance officer had bought herself three motor vehicles and a house in one of the city’s leafy suburbs.

When the matter was reported to the police, she quickly panicked and confessed that she had defrauded the company and that is when she also implicated me.

“The investigation officers asked her to call me pretending like she wanted me to assist her in another deal of defrauding the company. This forced me to quickly drive from Zvishavane to Bulawayo. Upon arrival that is when I discovered that I had been trapped,” regrets Mhizha.

He adds: “When I got to Bulawayo I was immediately arrested and taken to court where I was placed on remand for a gruelling nine months as the police were still conducting investigations.

“I was later sentenced to 10 months in prison and currently I have served one month,” he said.

Mhizha said while in prison his mother visited him and told him that his daughter was always asking her about his whereabouts.

Money. Image taken from Dreamstime

He said that actually forced him to repent from his evil ways of making a living as a way of having a lasting relationship with his daughter after his release.

“When my mother told me about it, that really hurt me. I gave myself time to think about it and that is when I told myself that it was high time that I do away with crime as I am a father and my kids need me to be there for them all the time,” he said, while reiterating that the old Mhizha had died.

Mhizha, who is also a qualified carpenter said when he completes serving his prison sentence, he wants to start his own business.

“I have decided not to commit any other crime and after serving my sentence I am going to start a project that will sustain me and my family. I will open a workshop that offers a wide range of services to society.

“It’s high time I change my line of trade and this is because I have learnt that crime does not pay so after serving my jail term I am appealing to the community to accept me and this will help me to be productive in society.

“I know a lot of people don’t trust ex-convicts but with time they will realise that one can contribute positively towards the development of the nation in line with President Mnangagwa’s 2030 Vision of our nation becoming an upper middle-income economy,” he said.

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