NetOne loses ZiG285 000 to hacker

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

CELLULAR services provider, NetOne Cellular, allegedly lost ZiG285 817 to a suspected hacker who took advantage of the RTGS to ZiG currency conversion that occurred from April this year.

Takunda Gwaranda (21) appeared before Harare magistrate, Mr Dennis Mangosi charged with fraud and money laundering.

He was remanded in custody pending bail application.

The complainant in the case is NetOne Cellular (Pvt) Ltd OneMoney Wallet, being represented by Takaitei Chitekwe, the regional loss control officer.

Prosecutor, Mr Thomas Chanakira alleges that between May 10 and 13, Gwaranda hacked into NetOne’s OneMoney Wallet and fraudulently transferred ZiG285 817 to various EcoCash accounts using his NetOne                          line.

He allegedly performed 203 transactions with the line registered in the name of his mother, Prisca Tsvakai.

NetOne contends that the ZiG285 817 was not a balance in Gwaranda’s wallet account, but rather phantom money that was fraudulently transferred by exploiting a glitch in NetOne’s OneMoney system.

When he made all the illegal transactions, his wallet had a balance of only ZiG340,68.

The court heard that the phantom money was processed through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Corporation Zimbabwe, ZimSwitch and EcoCash, being supported or funded by NetOne’s OneMoney escrow account number 3067500400062.

As a result of Gwaranda’s fraudulent actions, NetOne’s OneMoney account funds were depleted and FBC Bank ultimately settled the transactions.

The suspect then converted or transferred some of the proceeds to assets that are yet to be recovered.

Total prejudice is ZiG285 817, but some of the money was recovered after the wallets were frozen.

However, the actual amount recovered is yet to be ascertained.

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