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Zimbabwean nabbed for operating illegal loan business (chimbadzo) in the UK

A Zimbabwean carer was arrested in Birmingham for operating an illegal loan (chimbadzo) business and making hundreds of thousands over three years.

Also Read: How Zimbabwean Man “Ma Broughtie” Suffer In UK At The Mercy Of Their Wives

She provided £350,000 in unauthorized loans, charging a hefty 20% interest. Bandawe, 44, offered 1,000 loans to at least 60 people without approval from the Financial Conduct Authority. Her actions came to light when a tip-off was reported to the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), leading to an investigation.

Bandawe, a 44-year-old Zimbabwean national, was part of a WhatsApp group with fellow Zimbabweans in the UK. The investigation uncovered messages related to her lending activities. She imposed interest rates between 10% and 20% on loans lasting one to four weeks. In March, a warrant was executed at her residence, revealing that she had received over £375,000 in loan repayments since 2020.

At the Birmingham Crown Court on September 29, Simon Mortimer, the prosecutor, revealed the extent of Bandawe’s exploitation of financially vulnerable individuals. Despite her guilty plea, Recorder Balraj Bhatia KC sentenced Bandawe to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, considering her previous good character.

Tony Quigley, head of the England IMLTeam, condemned Bandawe’s actions, emphasizing the importance of affordable credit options such as credit unions for those unable to access mainstream bank loans. He stressed the team’s dedication to eradicating illegal lenders who target vulnerable communities.

Coun Philip Davis, chair of Birmingham City Council’s licensing and public protection committee, commended the prosecution. He highlighted the council’s ongoing collaboration with the national Illegal Money Lending Team to combat loan shark activities, emphasizing the detrimental impact these criminals have on vulnerable individuals.

The case was handled collaboratively by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Birmingham City Council Trading Standards, and West Midlands Police.

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