'Miracle money' backfires

HARARE - A Harare man who fraudulently withdrew $1 000 worth of airtime after Standard Chartered (Standard Chartered) Bank had mistakenly linked his phone number to their client’s bank account yesterday begged for the court’s leniency saying he believed it was “miracle money”.

James Saunyama, 38, told Harare magistrate Arnold Maburo in mitigation that he miraculously had access to the Standard Chartered account after attending a church service.

He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and three months were suspended on condition of good behaviour before the remainder of the sentence was suspended on condition that he pays back  $1 072,85 to the bank by November 21.

Saunyama said after giving up his number in church in 2013, it was declared that his account would have some money.

“I want the court to pardon me because I did not commit this offence intentionally but it was a matter of my faith in what I had been promised at church,” Saunyama pleaded with the court.

However, prosecutor Yeukai Musengi urged the court to consider that Saunyama’s moral blameworthiness was high as he was aware of the offence he was committing since he went to change the complainant’s password to manipulate the account.

The complainant was Standard Chartered represented by Kudzai Mujaji, the fraud manager at Alexander House in Harare.

Saunyama is a registered owner of an Econet line and during the period between January and October 2013, at Standard Chartered Msasa branch there was a mobile banking registration error.

The bank’s accountants mistakenly linked Saunyama’s phone number to Ranganai Muguti’s bank account instead of their customer’s legitimate Econet mobile line.

When Saunyama’s number was linked to Muguti’s account, he automatically gained access to his banking services as they were offered on mobile banking platform.

It was also established that when the error occurred, Saunyama also got Muguti’s password, which he later changed although fully aware that he was tempering with another person’s bank account.

From October 18, 2013 to May 29 this year, Saunyama would top up various amounts of airtime into his mobile phone, withdrawing the money from Muguti’s bank account.

The offence came to light when Muguti approached his bank and discovered that Saunyama’s number had been linked to his bank account.

This prompted Standard Chartered to file a police report against Saunyama, leading to his arrest.

The bank suffered prejudice of $1 072,85 and nothing was recovered.

Comments (8)

mhosva ndeya RGMugabe who has managed to confuse us into all forms of robbery and heartlessness

not.his.problem - 13 October 2016

umm guys i hate zanu pf zvisingaite asi apa haa apa havapo apa this dude arikuti ndaifunga kuti i miracle money ought to be ashamed of himself kunyeba to the point ofr blaming GOD kutoti i stole coz i thought God had given me.nxa if you have children you are a disgrsce to them,.GOD said uchadya cheziya now changing a persons pin and subsequently steal;ing his money i dont c any sweat there

NUTTY DREADLOCK - 13 October 2016

VANHU NGATISATAMBE NAMWARI TICHIITA TUMA FUNNIES TUSINA BASA THIS IS BAD AND SHOULD STOP ALL THIS MIRACLE MONEY BULLSHIT IS BLASPHEMOUS

NUTTY DREADLOCK - 13 October 2016

KANA MUNHU UCHIBA IBA HAKO ASI UKABATWA USAZOPINZA ZITA RAMWARI BECAUSE PAWAIBA WAKAMBENGE WAMUDAIDZA HERE MWARI THIS GUY DESERVED A STIFFER CHALLENGE SO AS TO SHOW OTHERS HOW WRONG IT IS TO PERSONALISE OTHER PEOPLES PROPERTY

NUTTY DREADLOCK - 13 October 2016

haaaaa vakunyepera miracle money bt issue ye miracle money mst questioned coz inobvepi mari iyoyo

desman - 13 October 2016

What if this guys had received, bills, or debt sms was he going to accept the miracle bills and pay them. OR cry wrong number.

X-MAN IV - 13 October 2016

miracle iripapi if you deliberately change someone's password? imbavha inoda kungwara nhema.

obsever - 14 October 2016

Greed is ay the root of the issue here, but what happened to secure banking processes? When I worked at a bank years back they had parallel systems called "dual control" and work was checked on at least 2 levels before being "passed". These days banks do not credit some accounts even if they appear on the same list/sheet/form. Banks have become very incompetent and quick to debit an account whilst taking time to process salaries/commission credit. When approached you hear silly excuses by this "new" generation of "bankers" who would never have lasted a week in a bank in my days

Sagitarr - 14 October 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.