TWO thousand five hundred Bulawayo residents had invested at least $4,2 million inside a year in a pyramid scheme that collapsed early this year without paying them back their money, it has been established.
According to a register presented at the Magistrates’ Courts at the start of the trial against Geozing Pawn Brokers on Monday, 2 584 clients deposited their money with Geozing Pawn Brokers hoping to get the investments back with interest.
The investors, who included members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and prominent residents, lost a total of $4 325 994, the register shows.
Some of the hardest hit investors are Nomsa Beni who deposited $35 000, Nhlonipho Sithole ($27 500), Soretel Chimanikire ($25 000), Fikile Dlamini ($21 710) and Sinikiwe Moyo ($15 750).
The ZRP’s Women Network of Nkulumane suburb invested $473 in the illegal scheme.
Burial societies were also not spared with some losing as much as $3 000.
They include Jocks Burial Society ($3 000), Tshabalala Mail Burial Society ($400), Royal Family Ministries Church ($200), Shingirira Bulawayo Burial Society ($2 000), Sibambene Burial Society ($1 000) and Bambanani Burial Society ($2 500).
According to the register, former Bulawayo deputy mayor Amen Mpofu had also invested $1 000 in the scheme.
Geozing, which has since been liquidated, was placed under provisional liquidators, Matshobana Ncube and Philip Ndlovu.
The company is being charged with fraud together with former director George Zingane (49) who is out of custody on $2 000 bail.
The firm is the first accused, while its former owner George Zingane is the second accused in the fraud trial.
Zingane appeared before magistrate Crispen Mberewere on Monday and is pleading not guilty. His trial has been set for October 8.
State prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa alleges that from March 2012 to March 2013, Zingane of Kingston Court Famona in Bulawayo operated Geozing Pawn Brokers at 2 Ramjis Complex, Corner 11th Avenue and Robert Mugabe Way.
In his capacity as director, he defrauded members of the public of thousands of dollars through taking deposits from them without a banking licence.
Zingane allegedly misrepresented to prospective clients through advertising in a local newspaper and pamphlets purpoting Geozing was registered to accept deposits from the public. He promised 30% interest on the deposits after every 30 days.