BULAWAYO up and coming musician, Fanuel Jele a.k.a Richboy, is languishing in prison after he was convicted and sentenced to 10 months for defrauding his mother of over $13 000.
The inmate committed the offence in May 2021 in an attempt to be like Passion Java, who is believed to be one of the highest spending people in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, Jele told a B-Metro News crew that he was incarcerated after he defrauded his mother, who had given him her bank card to buy groceries for the whole family.
Instead of buying the groceries, he went on a drinking spree with friends as he wanted to prove that he could also live the Passion Java lifestyle.
“My mother, who is now based in Namibia, came back home and when she got home she tasked me to get into town and buy some groceries using her bank card. Before I left I was given a list of items that were required and those items cost $6 000.
“Soon after being given the list of items required I was given two hours to get into town and do the procurement, but when I got into town I decided to get into a bar with my friends and we started buying beer using the bank card and in the process we spent $13 000,” he said.
The now rich boy said he decided to take his mother’s bank card for a drinking spree with friends as he wanted to prove that he could also match the lifestyle of the prophet by spending to the fullest.
“When I got into the music industry I also decided to compose a song called Living life like Passion Java.
I came up with this song after I had been inspired by Prophet Java who spends to the fullest on each and every item that he decides to buy.
“When my mother assigned me to get into town I took that opportunity to take my friends on a drinking spree and from her bank card I withdrew more than $13 000,” he said.
The inmate said when his mother discovered that he had blown her money, she reported the matter to the police and he was picked up for questioning before the matter was taken to court.
“When I came back home the next morning I got a visit from police officers who took me for questioning on the issue and it was concluded that I had defrauded my mother so the issue was then referred to courts for finalisation.
“At first I thought my mother was going to reconsider her decision of taking the issue to the courts but she insisted that the matter be heard before the courts and I was found guilty and I was sentenced to 12 months in prison,” he said.
The inmate said soon after conviction he was transferred to Bulawayo Prison to start serving his sentence.
“When I got into court over the fraud issue I never wasted the court officials’ time, I admitted that I had wronged her so I was sentenced to 12 months in prison. On that same sentence I was given an option to restitute my mother as part of the sentence.
“So far I have served for six months and I can tell you that life in prison is not as easy as I thought and right now I am beginning to realise that I made a very big mistake by stealing from my mother trying to impress friends,” he said.
Jele said from his six months stay in prison he is now ready to meet his mother this festive season so that they talk about this issue as his actions had really disappointed her.
“I know that I disappointed my mother by spending her money on beer with friends and from my stay in prison I have realised that it’s high time I apologise for what I did.
“We are a family and we need one another in life and for that to happen it would be after having apologised to my mother who is in Namibia at the moment,” he said.
The inmate said his stay in prison had turned into more of a blessing as that was giving him ample time to work on his first album that would be ready mid next year.
“When I came to prison I had managed to record three singles and at the moment I am working on my album that I will be recording sometime next year and I am urging music producers to visit prisons for talent identification.
“I would like to believe this is the turning point of my life as I now understand the importance of respecting other people regardless of the relation that binds the two parties involved,” he said.
Bulawayo Prison chaplain officer, Lazarus Mazaka told B-Metro that it was actually encouraging inmates were realising they had wronged members of society.
“The counselling sessions that we are conducting daily are actually yielding the results that we require and Jele is one good example of an inmate who has since realised that he wronged his mother by defrauding her of her hard-earned cash.
“I hope by the time he completes his jail term he will be a changed man who respects people’s rights out there,” he said.