LETTER: Is Our Money Safe? – mobile money fraud

Dear Kalemba,

In today’s world of advanced technology, where financial transactions are readily available at our fingertips, a question lingers: is this technology meant to improve our lives or leave us vulnerable to scams?

My name is Mr. Sambo, a teacher and poultry farmer residing in Lusaka. I am writing to share my experience with a recent and unresolved case of fraudulent activity on my Airtel Mobile Money account.

On Saturday, March 9th, 2024, a rather unusual day with both rain and sunshine, I discovered that K4,000 was missing from my account. There were no suspicious calls or PIN entries on my end.

Utterly perplexed, I contacted Airtel customer care to understand how this unauthorised transaction occurred. To my surprise, they informed me that a K4,000 payment had been made to Spargris Zambia via a till number linked to Kazang Spargris Zambia.

This was entirely unbelievable. The customer care representative insisted that the payment was authorised on the same day at 18:56 Central African Time.

It’s important to note that I only became aware of this incident on Sunday, March 10th, 2024, around 15:00 hour. When my business partner (who is also my elder brother) ran out of talk time after calling, I attempted to top up my phone using my Airtel Money account. That’s when I discovered the missing funds.

I have reported this case to the Garden police. They were able to obtain information from Kazang, including the shop where the transaction occurred and the owner of the payment machine, Mr. Lawrence Dube, an agent. Mr. Dube was initially detained but later released on police bond.

Here’s where the situation becomes even more concerning. The machine in question is currently in the possession of Mr. Alick Nyimbili, a former area manager for Kazang Zambia who is now on the run, and the police have been unable to recover the device.

Several questions continue to haunt me:

Which court would be most appropriate to handle this case?
Airtel claims the transaction was authorised, yet I received no notification at the time (18:56) as is customary for such transactions.
Why did Mr. Dube allow Mr. Nyimbili to use his Kazang machine, considering Mr. Nyimbili is no longer employed by Kazang?
Who is Mr. Nyimbili collaborating with to gain access to mobile money PINs without authorisation?

In closing, I leave this story for your consideration: Is our money truly safe?


Mr. Sambo

Kalemba March 25, 2024

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