Two nabbed over $3, 5 million fraud targeting foreign investor

HARARE: A Belize-based company which was exploring investment opportunities in Zimbabwe allegedly lost $3, 5 million after being duped by two local mining company bosses.

The accused are Taleb Mahomad managing director and Energy Ndonga, 53, the chief finance officer at mining firm Aquarium Trading Pvt Ltd located in Gweru.

The two appeared before magistrate Babra Chimboza Monday and were released on $200 coupled with conditions.

The complainant is Tamira Overseas SA, which is located in Belize.

According to the State, sometime in 2012, Mahomad approached Tamira Overseas SA which was looking to invest in Zimbabwe.

Court heard that with an intention to deprive the company, Mahomed requested a loan, indicating that the cash was for development and operational cost for a mine called Malaya 30 which is owned by Acquarium Trading.

Tamira Overseas agreed to the request, basing on misrepresentations and entered into an agreement. The company released $400,000 which the two converted into their own use.

In a bid to cover up the offence, prosecutors allege that the accused frequently gave false updates with regard to development at Malaya through emails.

Again, and giving same reasons, the duo requested for another $400,000 advance which they also misappropriated.

Court heard that during the same period the two lied that they had 60 shares in the company and were selling 48 for $715,000.

They claimed they would process all the paper work for the complainant to become a shareholder in Aquarium Trading.

The money was paid to the accused who also requested Tamira Overseas to inject $2 million into the company since they were now a major shareholder.

Prosecutors said in 2014, the duo presented a share certificate to the investors indicating that they now own 48 shares.

The fraud came to light after Tamira Overseas engaged auditors who discovered that the two abused the funds and also that no company in the name of Malaya 30 existed.

As a result of their actions, the foreign investor suffered a total prejudice of $3 515 000 and nothing was recovered.

Sebastin Mutizirwa appeared for the State.

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