Harare Institute of Technology software developer steals millions in fees scam

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By Staff Reporter

Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) software developer, Arnold Chifamba allegedly diverted student fees worth millions of local currency into his personal bank account.

Chifamba, 26, appeared before Harare magistrate Nyaradzo Manokore charged with fraud.

He was released on US $100 bail and will return to court on March 16 for his trial.

It is the state’s case that Chifamba was hired by HIT to oversee the integration of the school’s Online Application System with the external payment service provider (PayNow).

The online application system was being used to facilitate the collection of registration fees from prospective students who were applying to the school.

It is alleged that Chifamba siphoned money from the school’s account in 2023 after HIT invited applications from prospective students.

“The accused devised a plan to steal from the employer by abusing his position as a software developer who is responsible for managing HIT Online Application Platform.”

It is alleged that Chifamba logged onto the said system and changed HIT PayNow Limited’s account to an account in the name of Chisoft which is under his control.

“By doing so, all HIT Online Student’s application fees were diverted into the accused’s PayNow account,” reads court papers.

“The accused later instructed PayNow Limited to further transfer the stolen funds into his bank account,” the court heard.

When the school opened applications in 2024 Chifamba allegedly used the same modus operandi to siphon money from the institution’s accounts.

He then instructed PayNow Limited to transfer the money to his personal bank account on January 21.

The matter is said to have been discovered later when the school noticed an anomaly in their accounts and contacted PayNow telling them to withhold the funds.

In turn, PayNow then filed a police report on February 1 leading to Chifamba’s arrest.

The State is alleging that Chifamba stole $3 302 564 in 2023 and tried to steal $21 271 069 in 2024.

The offence was discovered before the $21 271 069 had been sent to his account.