Hundreds of women duped in alleged food hamper scam

Hundreds of women from Brunapeg in Matabeleland South were reportedly duped out of R25,000 by an individual who promised them food hampers.

The women were allegedly asked to pay R50 each by the scammer, who identified herself as Fungai Mutsetwa. The matter came to light when Mutsetwa tried the same trick in other wards in the area.  

One of the affected women said that Mutsetwa was working with her agent, Sithembiso Ncube, to carry out the scam.

“Mutsetwa came with this women’s program known as ‘Mothers of Today’. Her agent Sithembiso Ncube, who claimed to be working with her, told us that there is a donor who gives women groceries. We were told to pay R50 for transport as the groceries included a mealie meal and other hampers since this is a drought season,” said the woman.

She added that after they had registered, they tried to confirm the legitimacy of the scheme through Ncube.

“Ncube maintained that the program was legit and was an idea of women based in the United Kingdom.”

Another victim said that she was shown pictures of white people purported to be the founders of the program and was told that the food hampers included rice, cooking oil, mealie meal, and flour.

The village head, Simon Moyo, also known as Headman Godzi, said that he only heard about the matter when it was reported to him from another ward that had exposed the program was a scam.

“I was never told about this scheme as the headman. More than 500 people were scammed from my village. I only got to know about this matter when she was caught at Madabe village. I don’t think the villagers will recover their money. When she started her program here, she had one t-shirt, but when she went to Madabe she threw a party trying to impress people. She bought them drinks; she was using the money she got from the other village,” said Headman Godzi.

He said when Matsetwa was caught in Madabe village she had registered 700 villagers. 

“They managed to get their R35 000. The villagers from Madabe are the ones who called me notifying me about this incident since they know me. When they caught her, she said her name was Lee Sechilima while this side she was calling herself Fungai Mutsetwa,” said Godzi. 

Godzi said the matter was reported to the police.  

Matabeleland South Provincial Police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said she was yet to get to the report as she was failing to get hold of the officer in charge in Mphoengs due to network challenges. 

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