A fourth suspect involved in the E-Creator Electronic Commerce company case, where several individuals were defrauded of US$1 million in a Ponzi scheme, was apprehended and presented in court on Saturday.
Abraham Mutambu, who had evaded arrest by relocating to his rural home in Chihota, appeared before Magistrate Yeukai Dzuda. The magistrate remanded him to today for a bail application.
According to the allegations, in January 2023, the accused conspired with Jao Jiatong, Trymore Tapfumanei, and Justine Muchekenya, who are already in custody for the same case, along with other individuals who are still at large. They devised a plan to defraud unsuspecting Zimbabweans through an online investment Ponzi scheme.
On February 7, 2023, they established and registered a company named E-Creator Electronic Commerce (Pvt) Limited with the Zimbabwean Registrar of Companies. The company, with registration number 2853/23, operated from rooms 15 and 16 on the 10th floor of the Joina City Building in central Harare.
The accused then presented the company as an online e-commerce operator with a global internet presence.
Between February and July 2023, the accused, who was based at the company’s headquarters in Joina City, collaborated with his co-accused and deceived thousands of Zimbabweans by falsely promising substantial monthly profits based on their investments.
Numerous individuals from across the country joined the company and invested an estimated US$1 million through various EcoCash numbers provided on the platform by the accused. To make the company more enticing, the accused appeared on national television, traditional and social media, advertising its services and recruiting more victims into the scheme.
The accused expanded the company by opening branches throughout the country and recruiting additional participants.
On July 3, 2023, some complainants encountered difficulties accessing their funds and sought clarification from the company. The accused assured them that a system upgrade was causing the issue and that access to their funds would be restored in due course. However, on July 5, 2023, the complainants discovered that the E-Creator scheme had collapsed, resulting in the loss of all their invested funds and blocked withdrawals.
Investigations led to the arrest and detention of the other three accused individuals. Further investigations led to the apprehension of the accused, who had relocated to the Chihota communal areas. As a result of the accused’s actions, the complainants suffered a loss of US$1 million, and no funds were recovered.