A 44-YEAR-OLD Chinese woman, who is accused of swindling her compatriots of $200 000 in a botched investment deal, was yesterday brought to the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing fraud allegations.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Tang Mingjin, of Mt Pleasant, Harare, was granted $200 bail by magistrate Barbara Chimboza, who remanded her to April 4.
The complainants in the matter are Faquan Zhou and Huang Liangcao, who are former shareholders of Zim Viewsquare Investment, which is into quarry stone mining. Mingjin was also a director and shareholder responsible for the day-to-day running of the company.
Allegations are that in March last year, Zhou and Liangcao together with two other Chinese nationals, visited Zimbabwe as tourists. They met Mingjin, who was already staying in Zimbabwe, and she invited the two complainants to establish a quarry business in the country and they agreed to fund the project.
The State alleges pursuant to their agreement, they registered a company called Zim Viewsquare Investment in which Zhou and Liangcao had 21%, Mingjin 5%, Yang Xiaoping 5%, Yu Chen 22% and a Zimbabwean, Matts Kufa, 26% shareholding. They obtained a Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) licence.
The State alleges the complainants returned to China after completing all modalities as required by Zimbabwean laws. The duo contributed $160 000 and $40 000 respectively to buy machinery and equipment, which was then shipped into the country to start operations in Chegutu.
After receiving the consignment, Mingjin allegedly devised a plan to defraud the complainants.
In May last year, Mingjin allegedly fraudulently removed Zhou, Liangcao, Chen and Xiaoping as directors and also changed the shareholding structure. She reduced the complainants’ holding to 13% each and upgraded Kufa to 51%. She then allegedly lodged the fraudulent information with Registrar of Companies and ZIA.
In February this year, Zhou and Liangcao visited Zimbabwe to assess the progress of their business, but were allegedly barred by Mingjin from entering the company premises and threatened them with deportation.
This prompted Zhou and Liangcao to visit the Registrar of Companies where it was discovered that they had been removed from directorship and their shareholding reduced. The mining equipment, which includes two 30-tonne tippers and a front-end loader, was recovered and will be produced as exhibits.
The State alleges the complainants suffered total prejudice of $200 000.
Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.