Runesu Gwidi, Masvingo Correspondent
POLICE have re-arrested a woman believed to be the leader of a racket that recently swindled over $60 000 from 43 people desperate to train as nurses after promising them placements at Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
The syndicate allegeldy skipped bail several times and committed similar offences in at least four cities.
Patricia Magazini (34) of Number 2563 Fifth Street, Mucheke A in Masvingo was arrested by police detectives in Marondera where she had sought refuge after skipping bail and allegedly committing 30 fresh similar cases, to make a total of 73 counts of fraud.
Magazini and five other members of the syndicate hit the headlines after they were busted in Masvingo City last year.
The gang placed a fake advertisement in a local newspaper, insinuating that Government would recruit trainee nurses in May 2018.
They allegedly published a list of purported successful candidates for proposed training and solicited bribe money ranging between RTGS$800 and $1 200 to facilitate “hustle-free enrolments.”
Magazini is alleged to have connived with Beauty Dzviti (24), an employee with Econet Wireless Shop at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka, to register two different lines using fake names.
The suspects hired four more bogus recruitment agents who would instruct prospective applicants to send bribe money into the fake Ecocash accounts.
The four are Jairos Mupamhadzi (35) of Silveira Hospital in Bikita, Respina Manjeru (45) of Mawarire Village under Chief Nhema in Zaka and Hebert Munyikwa (45) and Martha Nyapokoto (46), both of Manjovha Village under Chief Mabika in Bikita.
The six-member syndicate appeared before magistrate Mr Peter Madhibha, who released them each on RTGS$300 bail pending trial.
The court ordered Magazini to report at Chikato Police Station every day, while Dzviti would report at Jerera Police Station also daily. The other four suspects were released after the court noted that they had been over-detained in police cells.
The prosecutor, Mr Fidelis Nyamukondiwa, told the court that on September 19, 2017, the syndicate, masqueraded as a genuine recruitment authority, placed a notice in a newspaper with a list of applicants which it purported had secured places for nurse training at Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
The Provincial Medical Director of Masvingo, Dr Amadeus Shamu has since disowned the advert.
While on initial bail, Magazini and her syndicate allegedly committed similar offences in Gweru. They were arrested and appeared in the Gweru magistrate court, which denied them bail.
They, however, successfully applied for bail pending trial at the High Court and later escaped and proceeded to Mt Darwin, Chipinge and Marondera, where they fleeced more job-seekers.
Police in Marondera finally arrested Magazini last week, following a tip-off from locals.