A group of five friends who used fake Ecocash messages to defraud merchants in Victoria Falls of goods were recently convicted by a magistrate in the same town and sentenced to 244 hours of community service.

According to the State, Bhekinkosi Ngwenya came up or discovered the fake message trick which would enable him to send fake confirmation messages to the phones of unsuspecting sellers. This would essentially allow him to get goods without paying anything.

He shared this nifty trick with his four friends:

  1. Mlungisi Mpala
  2. Mqondisi Mpofu
  3. Gracious Tshuma
  4. William Masuku

The gang then decided to go on a shopping spree. Ngwenya was able to buy good worth $73 RTGS without paying while Masuku was apparently more successful and managed to buy goods worth $220 RTGS before he too was arrested.

Given what shops are charging these days this wasn’t much of a haul. It could be the reason why the magistrate sentenced them to community service instead of a custodial sentence.

Two of Ngwenya’s friends were convicted of their own plea. Ngwenya initially pleaded not guilty but was convicted after a trial which was probably not hard given the fact that his two friends had turned on him.