A 26-year-old Bulawayo woman allegedly duped five desperate home seekers of US$710 while posing as an agent, a court heard.
Langelihle Dube would allegedly show home seekers her residential place in Newton West under the pretext that it was available for occupation and would collect a deposit before disappearing.
According to the State papers, Dube committed all the offences in the month of July 2021 using the same modus operandi of collecting money and later calling the victims informing them that the house is no longer available and would promise to pay back their money.
She appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Rachel Mukanga facing five counts of fraud and was remanded in custody to October 12.
For the State, Ashely Dube accounted that on July 9 one Darlington Mawodzeke of Bellevue saw an advert at 7 am on a WhatsApp group stating that there was a house available to rent in Newton West.
“They went together and Mawodzeke gave Dube US$240. On July 26 Mawodzeke went back to the Newton West house to make preparations to move in. Upon arrival, Mawodzeke spoke to Dube’s husband who told him that Dube was not the owner of the house and that the house was not available for occupation.
“Together they called Dube and she said she would be back soon to pay back but after several days she started dodging Mawodzeke and he went to the police to make a report.”
Prosecutor Dube said the second victim Lovemore Masuku saw an advert for a house for renting on Facebook and on July 11 at 1 pm went to meet up with Dube in the CBD.
He paid $100 for the house and on July 26 when he went to make preparations for moving into the new place he found the first victim (Mawodzeke) who shared with him his ordeal of how he had fallen victim to the same.
Masuku subsequently called Dube but she only promised to pay back the money before she started dodging his calls again.
“Another person to be defrauded was Bridget Wusimbe who found an advert on a WhatsApp group to the effect that there was a house available to rent in Newton West. She asked her brother Fiselani Mzizi to check the house for her and if satisfied pay for it,” said Dube.
“Mzizi paid $300 to Dube but a few days later he was tipped by his friend that the house was not genuine. He made efforts to recover the money he had paid but only got back $250.”
The court further heard that another home seeker, George Chikuvadze, got in touch with Dube on July 14 after being referred to her by his relative.
“He paid $100 but on July 27 when he texted Dube inquiring when he could move in but he was told the house was no longer available and he would be refunded. He followed up for several days until August 2 when Dube’s husband answered the phone and informed him that Dube had been arrested for a series of fraud cases.”
Prosecutor Dube said the last to fall victim was Munyaradzi Gama who on July 18 met Dube and was shown the same house where he paid US$220 and promised to come on August 1.
“On July 24 he wanted to move some of his property but Dube said she was out of town and would refund him when she came back. On July 28 Dube texted Gama that the house had been occupied by someone. Gama later heard Dube had been arrested for fraud and he subsequently went to make his report,” the court heard.