Thursday 23 November 2017


An Epworth man who was acquitted three years ago for defrauding Harare businessman, Douglas Mamvura of about $350 000 after deposing him of control of a business venture will be sentenced today after the High Court overturned the acquittal.

Tonderai Muocha, who was on the run following a successful appeal for acquittal by prosecutor Mr Michael Reza, was arrested on November 15. He is in custody pending sentence. His accomplice Israel Tangwena is still on the run. The matter was brought before regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya, who acquitted the pair in 2014.

The court heard that from July 2013 to July 2014, Tangwena and Muocha sweet talked Mamvura to be a shareholder in an agro-business venture called Hedgehold Trading (Private) Limited and promised to make him a controlling shareholder in the company. The duo needed cash injection in order to rescue their agri-business, Makonde Industries, which was under liquidation.

The plan involved Hedgehold Trading effectively purchasing Makonde Industries and assuming its liabilities. They agreed that Mamvura will became the majority shareholder, with a 75 percent stake, with Tangwena and Muocha owning 11 percent and 5 percent respectively.

The late Fanuel Chimbindi owned the other 5 percent, while the remaining 4 percent was to be owned by a charity fund called Open Tribe Foundation Trust. Mamvura injected $350 000 in the new business. Of this, $250 000 was from a loan secured from Stanbic Bank, against which he put up his Borrowdale home as collateral, while the other $100 000 came from a CBZ Bank loan, for which he pledged another of his properties.

The court heard that Muocha and Tangwena decided to change the company’s ownership by filing fraudulent company ownership documents that purported that Mamvura had resigned and that the company’s entire shareholding was being put under the ownership of Open Tribe Foundation Trust.

On realising that he was duped, Mamvura reported the matter to the police, leading to the arrest of the pair. Mr Mujaya acquitted the pair, prompting, Mr Reza to file an appeal at the High Court. Mr Reza submitted that the court relied on the evidence of one Cosmas Bhosha, when in the fact he had told the court that his evidence was hearsay.

High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore expressed dismay at the way the case was handled at the lower court and overturned the not-guilty verdict and ordered that the duo be retried.
“Clearly the court should have been alive to the fact that the defence cases were of no substance,” Justice Mushore noted in a judgment that her colleague, Justice Charles Hungwe, concurred with. The magistrate went beyond finding the complainant’s testimony to be incredulous and began making assumptions that were in no way apparent from the evidence given.

“The court a quo very strangely indulged itself in a justification of the fraudulent actions of the respondents by inferring that those actions were warranted.” herald


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