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British couple’s Victoria Falls nightmare


A BRITISH couple’s dream visit to Zimbabwe turned into a nightmare after they were arrested in Victoria Falls for being in possession of $800 in fake notes.

Nokuthaba Dlamini
Own Correspondent

Mark Stephen Hill (42) from Scotland appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Sharon Rosemani and pleaded not guilty to charges of “possession of articles for criminal use”.

Prosecutor Listen Nare told the court that on November 3 at around 3pm, Hill arrived in Zimbabwe from South Africa. He then went to immigration offices to pay for visas for himself and his wife.

Hill tendered $100 to one of the immigration officers who discovered that the money was counterfeit. The matter was reported to top Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials, who then searched him and found $700 in counterfeit notes.

The money was immediately seized and the matter reported to police, leading to his arrest.

In his defence, Hill said he had received the money in South Africa and was not aware the notes were fake.

“I do not admit to the charges levelled against me,” he said.

“I was absolutely not aware that these notes were counterfeit.

“I received the money from my uncle who stays in South Africa on my way to Zimbabwe. It was after I had been advised that Zimbabwe uses US dollars that we asked him to change the money for us so that we spend it for few days were here.

“I came to know that they were counterfeit notes when I was paying for our visas at the immigration offices. We only use pounds in my country, so it was hard for me to tell whether the money was original or fake, neither did my uncle know because he is also a visitor there.

“We have been on holiday touring African countries for more than three weeks.”

Hill was granted $500 bail on condition he does not leave Victoria Falls until the conclusion of the matter.

Outside the courtroom, Hill was continuously hugged by his wife as the two shed tears. He spoke of his nightmarish time in the cells where he said he had been bitten by mosquitos and his skin was reacting badly to the insect bites.

The trial continues today.

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