Man In Court For Swindling Church mate US$43 000 In Botched Fuel Deal

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By Mary Taruvinga

A HARARE man is facing fraud charges after he allegedly swindled a Gweru businessman of US$43 000 in a botched fuel deal.

Tapiwa Joy Vengai (30) was Wednesday brought to the Harare Magistrates’ Courts where he was granted $15 000 bail by Magistrate Dennis Mangosi.

He is expected back in court on September 30, 2021.

The complainant is Thomas Rice, a director of FairPac Investments.

Allegations are that in May 2021, Vengai contacted the complainant and informed him that he had received a tender from a South African company to supply fuel in Zimbabwe.

The Rice, the court heard, knew Vengai as a church mate, he believed him and the accused sent a company profile of a South African company which he purported to be the supplier of fuel.

In June, Vengai contacted the complainant and advised him he had fuel for sale in Harare, and he should travel to Harare if he needed fuel.

On June 16 at around 0600 hours, the complainant left Gweru for Harare in the company of Lonely Mvicha, a business partner, with US$43 000 to purchase of 40 000 litres of petrol from Vengai.

In Harare, and on the same day at around 0900 hours, the complainant met Vengai who told him he did not have blended petrol, but his business partner, Reginald Tafadzwa Manyakara, had.

Vengai took the complainant to Manyakara’s workplace in Mount Pleasant, and it was proposed if complainant paid first, the accused would deliver the fuel by the end of that day.

Rice paid US$43 000 to Vengai and Manyakara before he was issued with an invoice and a cash receipt as proof of payment.

Manyakara allegedly took the complainant’s cash to Andrew Magirazi who has since been arrested together with Manyakara and charged with converting Rice’s cash to their own use after failing to avail the promised fuel.

The complainant tried to recover his money from the accused persons who implicated each other but to no avail.