A Chitungwiza man will spend 14 months in prison for stealing more than US$1 000 from people whom he duped into thinking he was a foreign currency dealer. Matthew Sibanda (29), of no fixed abode, would lure his victims to a house where he claimed to be living on the pretext that he wanted to conduct his deals there. Upon arrival, he would take cash from his victims and pretend to negotiate the transaction with a woman whom he claimed was his wife, and then sneak out through a back door. Albert Kanyemba (36) of Unit F was the first to fall victim after he asked a friend, Livingstone Nhunge, to help him convert United States dollars into South African rands. He was directed to Sibanda, who said they could conduct the transaction at "his" house in Chitungwiza's Unit A. Sibanda took US$105 from his victim and disappeared. He used the same method to steal US$800 from Kudakwashe Lomichi (20). Another of his victims, Elizabeth Matanhire (30), identified Sibanda at Makoni Shopping Centre and alerted the police. Sibanda denied fraud and theft charges before Chitungwiza magistrate Mr Lazarus Murendo on Wednesday, but was convicted after a fully contested trial. Mr Murendo sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison, but set aside six months for five years. Ten months were suspended on condition he restituted US$1 075 to his victims. Mr Learnmore Zuze prosecuted.
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