Tuesday, 28 January 2020

MUPFUMIRA'S ACOLYTE'S $1,4M FRAUD TRIAL COLLAPSES


Businesswoman and former Zimbabwe’s Honorary Consular for Investment and Trade in the United Arab Emirates Shamiso Fred yesterday heaved a sigh of relief after she was removed from remand.

Fred (46) was facing allegations of swindling a foreign currency dealer of $1,4 million. Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa removed Fred from remand saying the State had failed to give a trial date to the accused person and therefore should proceed by way of summons.

Fred who had close relations with fired Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira through her lawyer Mr Rungano Mahuni had applied for refusal of further remand arguing that the state was failing to furnish her with trial date.
Mr Mahuni had previously wrote to the area public prosecutor requesting a trial date for his client.

“We still insist that we should be furnished with a trial date on September 23 2019. We also believe that the allegations against our client have no basis both in fact and at law and we urge your office to pursue the docket and make an informed decision regarding the decision to prosecute our client,” reads part of the letter.

He further stated that his client was a businesswoman of note whose business involves travelling in and outside the country arguing that she had been affected by the withholding of her passport by the clerk of court as part of her bail conditions.

Fred is director for Centreshot Investments, which operates from Alexandra Park in Harare, a company that at some stage tried to bring the Formula One Grand Prix to Victoria Falls, working with the Ministry of Tourism. The deal, however, failed after the Nigerian sponsors accused Fred of defrauding them. 

The complainant is Aissa Ussen who operates Zimexpress, a duly-registered bureau de change operating from Borrowdale.

It is the State’s case that sometime in February this year, Fred approached Ussen intending to change her US$10 000 into South African rands.

It is alleged that whilst they were chatting, Fred told Ussen that she was appointed by the Government as the Zimbabwe consular for investment and trade in the United Arab Emirates and that she was facilitating many deals for the Zimbabwean Government, including an unnamed project in Victoria Falls.

The court heard that after realising that Ussen was convinced by her assertions, Fred allegedly inquired if Ussen had local funds and cash in exchange for her free funds in the UAE to which she confirmed.

It is the State’s case that Fred claimed that she had obligations to meet locally and requested Ussen to transfer the funds to the provided accounts in turn she would pay her using her free funds in the UAE.

Acting upon the misrepresentation, Ussen provided her bank details to Fred to transfer the funds into. 

It is alleged that Fred misrepresented that she had deposited $1 400 000 into Ussen’s bank account in batches of $750 000 and $650 000 before producing fake proof of payment.

It is alleged that after some days, Ussen checked with her bank account only to discover she had been duped. Efforts by Ussen to recover her money failed resulting in the institution of criminal proceedings.

Due to the misrepresentation, the State alleges Ussen suffered an actual prejudice of $1 400 000. Herald

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