A Botswana-based Zimbabwean businessman, John Marufu, who runs a motor vehicle panel beating business in Gaborone West recently appeared in court facing a forgery charge involving Botswana Pula 52 887,20.
Marufu denied the charge of swindling one of his customers of P52 887, 20 when he appeared before Gaborone magistrate Cele Motlaleng last Friday.
Marufu had initially pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery but changed his plea to not guilty. He told the court he had initially pleaded guilty out of fear and confusion.
The court is set to agree with his lawyer on the date of the next hearing as he requested that he be given time.
Marufu is in remand prison after he failed to meet his bail conditions which include paying P3 000 and two sureties of P500 each.
It is alleged sometime in July last year, Marufu, who owns Loyal Saints Motors, received a Go Now motor vehicle for panelbeating. The vehicle, which belongs to Portia Mmokele, was insured by Zurich Insurance Company.
On July 27 last year, Marufu allegedly tendered a cost sheet of P52 887,20, which was to be paid by the insurance company on behalf of Mmokele.
The state claims Marufu forged Mmokele’s signature so as to authorise payment from the insurance company.
After the alleged forgery, Marufu then received a cheque of P52 887,20 from the insurance company on August 3 2010.
On December 9 last year, Mmokele went to the insurance company to complain about the delay in getting her vehicle repaired.
That is when she was shown a document bearing her signature.
She was also told the vehicle had been paid for at her request. The insurance company also told her that according to the documents, she had collected the vehicle, which was not the case.
It then emerged Marufu had forged the documents. At that time, he had not even repaired the vehicle.
Mmokele then reported the matter to the police, leading to Marufu’s arrest. Moathodi Seabonyane is prosecuting the case.