Police have busted a syndicate behind fake national identification cards (IDs) used by criminals who are hired to fraudulently sit for Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) exams on behalf of academically-challenged candidates.
The scam has so far seen the arrest of Kudzai Dzimano (22), believed to be the kingpin in the production of counterfeit identity documents.
He was arrested in possession of the equipment used in the production of plastic identity cards and other processed fake cards.
Fake identity documents are also used in other fraudulent activities like illegal sale of other people's property.
Some use the documents to fraudulently effect divorce proceedings when the other party is not aware.
Men with wives in the Diaspora have reportedly hired women to pose as their legitimate wives using fake IDs before fraudulently terminating marriages with an intention to loot matrimonial assets.
Kudzai's brother, Tapiwa Dzimano, also believed to be part of the syndicate, is still at large and police have launched a manhunt.
There are fears that several people were "hired" by prospective candidates to sit on their behalf for the June examination using this same method of operation.
Police have since launched intensive investigations on the cases.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Dzimano was arrested for possessing articles for criminal use.
"The accused person and his brother Tapiwa Dzimano who is at large, obtained Zimsec statements of entry for O' and A' Level and personal national cards for prospective candidates who were due to sit for June 2019 Zimsec examinations.
"The accused person would then produce fake plastic national identity cards and insert a photograph of a person whom they would hire to write the examination on behalf of the candidates," he said.
Investigations carried out by the police then led to the arrest of Kudzai who is still assisting them with investigations.
Police are still trying to ascertain the number of fake IDs that the suspects manufactured and the amounts that they were charging for the services, as investigations continue.
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police is warning perpetrators of fraudulent acts and related criminal misrepresentations that surveillance, monitoring and blitz have been intensified on all bogus educational institutions. In this regard, the law will be applied without fear or favour," Asst Comm Nyathi said.
In October last year, Zimsec acquired its own printing machine and will no longer be contracting other organisations, a move acting director Dr Lazarus Nembaware said will help combat examination paper leakages.
He revealed the development while presenting the ministry's budget expectations for 2019 to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.
Zimsec and the United States Embassy in Harare in August last year also unearthed a scam in which some people fraudulently acquired educational certificates in a bid to get visas to the US.
This comes after it was confirmed that 30 out of 40 O' and A' Level certificates that had been submitted to the US Embassy were fake.