Conmen target top govt officials

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© THE Office of the President and Cabinet has warned of conmen based in South Africa targeting senior government officials by offering non-existent agricultural equipment under a bogus programme.

In a statement, chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said there are individuals and entities of Zimbabwean extraction currently based in South Africa who are targeting unsuspecting ministers, deputy ministers, members of Parliament and senior civil servants.

“At the centre of the scam is a purported gift from the government of South Africa to the people of Zimbabwe to supposedly help the latter boost their agricultural productivity. For the record, there is no such programme between the two governments as of today.

“The government of Zimbabwe wishes to advise all Zimbabwean citizens that all agricultural equipment meant to benefit citizenry from whatever source is distributed by the appropriate government department in Zimbabwe,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda highlighted that the conmen pretend to be the ambassador of Zimbabwe to South Africa and call unsuspecting victims from South Africa informing them that they have been allocated tractors, centre pivots and other farm implements.

“The unsuspecting individuals are then requested to play a part in meeting cost of transporting the items to Zimbabwe.
“The amount of money demanded to meet the transport cost is varied. In one audio, a fraudster is heard agreeing to a payment of R8 000 whereas in other circumstances payments of above R20 000 were demanded,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda said the conmen would request that the transport payments be deposited into a South African bank, adding that Zimbabwe’s embassy in Pretoria has since kept the account details of the fraudsters for release to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

He further indicated that another pattern that is developing is that the conmen are now targeting members of the faith community.

“Targets are being nudged into the scam through massive propaganda to the effect that if they do not take the offer within a certain period, they would lose it to one of the many supposed beneficiaries in the queue. Citizens are advised that such a programme is non-existent,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda urged citizens to exercise extreme caution when dealing with supposed offers of this nature.

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