The trial of a Chinese couple accused of seizing a furniture company from a local businessman, took a new twist last week after the wife denied ever being aware she had been appointed as one of the company directors.
Zhaosheng Wu, who is charged alongside her husband Yan Yu and their co-accused Dawid Johannes Erasmus, told regional magistrate Never Katiyo during cross-examination she was never at any stage appointed as one of Monomotapa Garden Furniture directors.
The company is worth $500 000. She also denied knowing the company secretary, Erasmus, who had been tasked to handle the transaction of the sale of the company between the couple and the company owner, Arthur Fernando Pieria Dias, while he was away in South Africa.
Zhaosheng, however, maintained they paid cash for the purchase of the company, but after being asked to produce proof of such payment by the State, they failed.
Zhaosheng was also put to task to explain why if they had paid the full amount for the purchase of the company they never demanded the title deeds, the registration form and original share certificates from Erasmus.
She was further asked to explain why, as a couple, they had agreed to enter into a second agreement to buy the company, at $200 000, if they claimed to have paid $300 000 as the final purchase price.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Editor Mavuto, Zhaosheng produced what she had drafted purportedly as a receipt indicating payment in South African rand instead of United States dollars.
Asked why she had paid in rand, Zhaosheng said during the time it was illegal to trade in foreign currency and they had received instructions from the sellers to pay in rand. Both rand and US dollars are regarded as foreign currency in Zimbabwe.
Mavuto further asked Zhaosheng if she was present when the money was paid and she said she was not, but simply trusted her husband had paid.
According to the evidence led in court, the couple was appointed as directors of Monomotapa Garden Furniture in 2005 and later resigned through Erasmus in 2009 on the basis they had no national identification certificates.
In 2010, they were reappointed as directors following which they started operating the company while using pseudonyms, Willa Yu and Frank Yu, on alleged fraudulent share certificates.
The matter continues today, as Yan is expected to be cross-examined after giving his evidence.