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Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) fraud suspect Primrose Nyeri Mwangi (second from right) arrives at the Harare Magistrates Courts yesterday flanked by detectives Pic credit: The Herald

Zimdef suffers a $120 million loss as a result of bank account hacking

A group of hackers broke into Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdefbank)’s computer systems and stole $120 million from the organisation’s accounts.

A Harare court heard Tuesday that the hackers instructed banks to move substantial quantities of money to their own accounts using Zimdef authorization codes.

Only $30 000 of the $120 million has been recovered thus far after one of the transactions was cancelled by the National Building Society.

On December 28 of last year, a whistle-blower detailed the deception in an email to Zimdef, which led to the discovery of the hacking.

Primrose Nyeri Mwangi, the owner of Maffkett Private Limited Company and Primkett Travel, which were operating at Joina City in Harare, was detained as a result of investigations.

Speaking on behalf of the State, Mr. Zvikomborero Mupasa asserts that between December 1 and December 29 of last year, Mwangi collaborated with Gerald Pondai, Prosper Hove, and some other members of their syndicate to gain access to the computer data systems of Zimdef and, as a result, to the ZB Bank and CBZ accounts of Zimdef.

It is claimed that Mwangi and the syndicate then moved $20 million into the Steward Bank account of Maffikett Trading using the usual Zimswitch system and Zimdef authority codes.

The court was informed that they also moved more funds into the NBS accounts of Tavaka Holding, Newplaces (Pvt) Limited, and Atrier Engineering.

The State asserts that Mwangi then bought bulk cooking oil using the funds deposited to her company’s account.

According to the State, Zimdef was made aware of the offense on December 28 through an email from a whistle-blower outlining how the accounts had been compromised through its internal systems.

According to reports, bank records showed that $120 million had been taken from CBZ Bank and Zimdef ZB Bank accounts, with $30 000 being recovered thanks to a transaction that NBS Bank cancelled.

Mwangi is also accused of breaking the terms of her visitor’s entry certificate, which only allowed her to stay as a tourist for one month between December 14 and January 14.