Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
ZB Bank Financial Holdings has said it is investigating a case in which ZB Life Assurance Limited regional sales manager Mr Francis Chitehwe allegedly defrauded a former Bulawayo Polytechnic employee of nearly $50 000 in an insurance scam.
ZB Life Assurance Limited is a sister company of ZB Bank Limited.
Ms Winnie Mapuranga, a former accountant at the Bulawayo Polytechnic made a report to the police two weeks ago after Mr Chitehwe allegedly made her pay him $46 400 over a period of three years on a promise that he would facilitate a $1 million business loan from two life assurance policies with the company.
Ms Mapuranga also reported to the police that Mr Chitehwe, who is also the chairman of the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) Board, allegedly threatened to kill her if she reports that she lost her money to him saying he was a Central Intelligence Organisation operative.
Police confirmed receiving a report on the alleged fraud and said investigations are underway.
ZB Bank head of group corporate services Mr Shadowsight Chiganze said yesterday that the bank was conducting its own investigations.
“We have instituted investigations into these allegations against Mr Chitehwe and we will take appropriate disciplinary measures once we confirm the allegations are true. We only became aware of Ms Mapuranga’s complaint against Mr Chitehwe when we read The Chronicle edition of April 19, 2017.
“We’re not aware of any report she may have made to the police but we’ll cooperate fully with the police should they seek information from us,” said Mr Chiganze.
He said the bank was not offering loans of up to $1 million to individuals.
Mr Chiganze advised members of the public to seek advice from the bank’s professional sales representatives.
He said ZB Life would take disciplinary action against members of its staff who may mislead the public or who may misrepresent the company and its products or services.
Ms Mapuranga said officials from the bank’s head office in Harare had informed her that they would be coming to Bulawayo to investigate the case.
She said she paid varying amounts to Chitehwe’s personal and Ecocash accounts and other transactions were made to his wife and son’s Ecocash accounts, all amounting to more than $46 000. “In September 2011, I took a life assurance policy for $20 000 with Mr Chitehwe being my representative. In 2013 he told me that there were loans available at ZB Bank and advised me to apply.
“I signed the loan application form in his office for $35 000. In June 2014 he advised me to take another policy for $15 000 so that I could use the two policies as collateral for the $35 000 loan,” said Ms Mapuranga.