Man up for $66 million theft

A 47-year-old man appeared in court this Thursday on allegations of stealing more than $66,4 million from NMB Bank after it was erroneously transferred into his account upon applying for a salary-based loan.

After getting the money, Itai Mazambani then started buying foreign currency on the parallel market. Mazambani, who was being presented by lawyer Admire Rubaya, appeared before Harare regional magistrate Standford Mambanje charged with theft, dealings in foreign currency and money-laundering.

He was not asked to plead to the charges and was remanded to March 29 on $10 000 bail.

Magistrate Mambanje ordered him to surrender title deeds to his house as surety, as part of his bail conditions.

The State led by George Manokore had it that sometime in August 2019, Mazambani opened an NMB local currency account at its Borrowdale branch in Harare.

The account is linked to a mobile bank platform, according to the State.

On January 31, 2022, Mazambani allegedly applied for a salary-based loan top-up of $547 000 at his NMB Excellence Branch, Borrowdale.

It is said that $636 200 was subsequently approved on February 2.

During the loan processing stages, the approved $636 200 was erroneously captured as US$636 200 in a currency mix up by the bank’s credit analyst, Lynn Challie, who was processing the loan.

The US$636 200 was then deposited into Mazambani’s account where it automatically converted to $74 212 761.81 because the receiving account was a local currency component account and it could not be credited with United States Dollar component, according to the State.

Mazambani is said to have discovered the bank’s error and went on to withdraw $66 453 717,99 through transfers and Point of Sale purchases and transfers to several individual and corporate accounts.

He is also alleged to have started spending some of the money by exchanging it with foreign currency from illegal dealers.
(The Herald)