By Mary Taruvinga
The trial of two showy businessmen Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure and Wicknell Chivayo accused of duping a Kadoma businessman commenced on Tuesday with both denying ever carrying out any transactions with the complainant.
The former best friends, whose relationship has gone sour, played the blame game in court, accusing each other of being the culprit in this case.
However, four witnesses who testified in a space of three hours appeared to be pinning all the blame on Chivayo while exonerating Kadungure.
The complainant Evon Gatawa took to the witness’s stand, narrating how the two allegedly duped him of R1, 046, 890 using a fictitious company account after he entered into a botched mining equipment supply deal.
“I almost fainted when I received the parcel,” said Gatawa who had arranged for engineering equipment instead.
“The parcel was smaller than we expected. We received four cell phone chargers instead of mining equipment. Only then did we realise that we had been duped,” he said.
The siblings told court they did not know how Chivayo was involved in their case but managed to establish that Kadungure owned the bogus company, Transco Engineering which is behind the alleged scam.
He told court they tried to negotiate with Kadungure who was evasive prompting them to report the case to the police but it could not proceed.
“We were told Chivayo was involved but he was never on the list of wanted suspects.
“I even went to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to complain to the chief law officer Mutangadura but there was no progress. The accused were not arrested. Nothing was happening to our case,” he said.
Gatawa said he was advised by his brother to arrange for an out of court settlement. He said they contacted Kadungure and agreed that he would pay $100 000.
He said by that time, their (Gatawa brothers) houses which they had surrendered as surety after they secured loans to pay for the machinery from BANC ABC were already being advertised for sale to settle the debt.
Gatawa said they then withdrew charges against Kadungure who only paid $20 000.
But Kadungure, who is being represented by Jonathan Samukange, said he only agreed to pay the money to avoid being dragged to court.
Kadungure told court he was also a victim since he released money twice; further pointing out that Chivayo dragged his name into the mire.
His wife’s friend, D. Kabwebwe told court that she linked Kadungure and Chivayo in this deal.
She told court that Kadungure needed $500 000 to purchase gas from South Africa and Chivayo released the Rands which he had allegedly stolen from Gatawa.
In return, Kadungure gave her $US50 000 which he handed to Chivayo before she got her commission.
She said Kadungure was shocked to hear that the money he used to buy gas was stolen before he confronted Kabwebwe who told him that she got the money from Chivayo.
Ginimbi’s estranged wife, Zodwa also came to his rescue saying Chivayo even apologised to her for having dragged her husband into the mess.
“He called and he sent some messages saying sorry for getting Genius in trouble. He even confirmed the transaction by offering to help with legal fees before he promised to clean up the mess,” said Zodwa.
But Chivayo says the fact that complainants say they don’t know how he got involved shows he did not commit any offence.
The case was then postponed to this Thursday for continuation.
Prosecutors say sometime in November 2012, the two connived and created a fictitious company called Transco Civil Engineering (Transco), purportedly based in South Africa, and opened an ABSA bank account.
Chivayo and Kadungure, acting in connivance, then contacted Gatawa, the managing director of Even Mine and Milling Centre in Kadoma and posed as buyers at Marange Resources looking for mining pumps.
They allegedly gave Gatawa an order to supply 10 T-90 Transco-Flo Helical Rotor pumps and referred him to Transco, knowing that it was a fictitious company.
Gatawa then sent his younger brother, Enock Gatawa, to deposit $446,900 into the ABSA account on December 4, 2012. A further $600,000 was deposited later the same day in two instalments.
After transferring the money, Gatawa contacted Transco and was told to return to Zimbabwe and wait for delivery of the pumps from DHL in three days.
Gatawa got a parcel that had cell phone chargers instead and realised that they had been swindled.
Kadungure, court heard, used R500,000 to buy wholesale gas from Reatile Gas in South Africa and another R500,000 was transferred to Edward Teka’s bank account. Teka, say prosecutors, stated that the money was later withdrawn and handed over to Chivayo and Kadungure.
The total prejudice to Gatawa was R1, 046, 890.
On the second count, the two men allegedly targeted Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna using the same modus operandi.