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ATM theft suspects appear in Dar court

24th July 2009
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Bulgarian nationals Stella Peteva Nedelcheva (forefront) and Nedko Lazarou Stancev are escorted to the Kisutu Resident Magistrate`s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday to answer fraud and theft charges. (Photo: Sabato Kasika)  

Two foreign nationals charged with fraud and theft of 70m/- through automatic teller machines (ATMs) said yesterday they had no confidence in the prosecution’s interpreter.

The accused, Nedko Lazarov Stancev (35) and Stella Peteva Nedelcheva (23), told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam that the interpreter was translating proceedings of their case wrongly.

Magistrate Warialwande Lema subsequently adjourned the case to give the prosecution time to sort out the problem. It was the first time the foreigners, both Bulgarians, were appearing in court in connection with the charges.

The prosecution, led by Principal State Attorney Edgar Luoga, used the services of an interpreter to enable the duo to follow court proceedings because they had problems with both English and Kiswahili.

Nedelcheva submitted before the proceedings could begin that she was not fluent in English but understood a few English words, which she claimed the interpreter was not translating correctly.

She added that when her co-accused was being interrogated at the police station she heard some of the words the interpreter was translating “and they were conveying the wrong information”.

“Because of the wrong information conveyed by the interpreter, I wasn’t sure if the investigators got the correct information that would warrant their charging us in court,” explained Nedelcheva.

The court granted the accused’s request and postponed the case, ordering the police to return them to custody until the matter was resolved.

The accused became instant crowd-pullers on arriving at the court’s premises, one reason being that Nedelcheva wore a pair of shorts that left her thighs exposed.

She was soon lent a ‘khanga’ before proceeding to the courtroom.

The accused are said to have been nabbed in the process of stealing a total of 70m/- from various customers’ accounts through ATMs in Dar es Salaam banks.

The incident is believed to be part of a rising wave of similar cases of cybercrime that has hit banking institutions in different parts of Tanzania in recent months.

Police have vowed to do the most they can to put the wave in check.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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