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Byo man duped $1000 in botched borehole deal

A 63-year-old Bulawayo man lost US$1000 to a suspected conman who promised to drill him a borehole on credit.

Police in Bulawayo have confirmed that they are investigating the matter.

Alexander Muhosvosveni Saurombe of Burnside who is visually impaired told CITE that after strenuous efforts to contact the Harare based man he felt taken advantage of.

“Mhene (the alleged borehole drilling company owner) had no intention of drilling the borehole but was out to con me and has no intention of refunding my US$1000 that I had deposited into his account as per his request,” he said.

“I needed water drilling services and my friend, Francis Nyadundu told me that Mhene, who lives in Harare, was in a position to drill a borehole for me on credit terms.”

Saurombe narrated that when he contacted Mhene, he asked him to deposit the balance into his bank account.

“I told him I could raise US$1000. Mhene then asked me how I would pay off the balance and I told him that I would be able to pay at the rate of US$400 per month,” he said.

Saurombe noted Mhene agreed to drill the borehole if he could deposit the agreed amount.

“He then sent me his bank account details on WhatsApp,” he said.

“I then deposited that amount on June 23 this year. From that day of deposit, he started playing cat and mouse games with me. The last time I heard from him was on Friday the second of this month when he told me that If I did not pay in full, he would not drill the borehole.”

Saurombe added he advised Mhene that he could not afford to pay in full and asked for a refund on his deposit.

“He asked for a bank account to deposit the refund and I supplied him with the bank account details,” he said.

“I have since not heard from him concerning the refund.”

Mhene is said not to be responding to messages.

Reached for comment, Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the police were investigating a case of fraud.

“Yes, we are investigating a case of fraud where the complainant posted on WhatsApp that he was looking for someone to assist him drilling in a borehole. He was then given a number of one Kudakwashe Mhene, with no other particulars, to contact them. This Kudakwashe is not known and is suspected to be from Harare,” he said.

Inspector Ncube said the complainant was told to deposit US$1 000 into the bank account yet the two had never met.

“This is a scam. We urge members of the public to be alert and go to the office of people who say they have drilling companies,” he said.

“They must engage them directly and there are lots of drilling companies in Bulawayo. Since this is a scam it’s not easy to get to this fraudster and as the police, we cannot reveal our strategies, or what we are doing to arrest otherwise we are still investigating.”

The police spokesperson added that it was possible the ‘fraudster’ might have opened a WhatsApp account using the names of a deceased person and also opened a bank account using the same particulars.

“When withdrawing cash, all one needs is an ID, which this person may have. The complainant was told to deposit so that they don’t meet physically,” Inspector Ncube indicated.

Efforts to contact Mhene were fruitless as his mobile number rang numerous times without a response.

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