A Harare woman, who swindled family friends of over US$200 000 after luring them into investing in a bogus company, was yesterday jailed for an effective three years. Harare magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya sentenced Alice Maja (44) to 10 years in jail before suspending four years on condition of good behaviour. A further three years were suspended on condition Maja restitutes US$248 938 on or before September 30 this year. In passing the sentence Mr Mujaya said Maja took advantage of her friendship when she swindled her friend and husband. He said Maja betrayed the trust bestowed upon her by stealing from her friends.
"She manipulated her inside knowledge of her friends by using interest rates that were out of this world," said Mr Mujaya. "She lied she was operating a micro-finance company and a fine or community service will trivialise the matter. A custodial sentence with a part of which is suspended on condition of restitution would be the appropriate sentence."
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza proved that Maja defrauded Silven Chisewe, Kudzai Chisewe, Julius Musara and Runyararo Tafadzwa Chisewe of their money.