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Company director on the run

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A Harare provincial magistrate recently ordered the arrest of the director of a Marondera–based firm, Home Sickness and Shelter, Tapiwa Shoko, who was the complainant in a case where Petrotrade, formerly Noczim, was accused of swindling the businessman of $37 272 in a botched fuel deal.

Shoko (36) had accused Petrotrade of accepting his payment for the supply of 36 000 litres which they failed to do.

However, Shoko is said to have abandoned testifying midway after realising that the evidence that was being produced in court instead incriminated him.

This development prompted Petrotrade lawyer Dumisani Kufaruwenga to make an application for discharge of his client after prosecutor Liberty Gono decided to close the State case.

“I recommend that the witness Tapiwa Shoko be arrested and charged with fraud. He is the transgressor not the accused (Petrotrade),” magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini said before discharging the oil company.

According to Petrotrade, sometime in July 2010 Shoko approached the oil company and produced forged letters purportedly authored by the ministries of Health and Local Government.

The alleged fake documents created an impression that the two ministries had recommended Shoko’s firm to procure 144 000 litres of fuel from Petrotrade.

Acting on the basis of the misrepresentations made, Petrotrade supplied 24 000 litres of diesel and 12 000 litres of petrol to Shoko, valued at $37 272, which he collected and disappeared.

During the trial, it was subsequently discovered that Shoko presented a fake credit application letter with false contact details and address of his firm.

It was established that he borrowed money from his friend Gift Gova to pay for the fuel supplied by Petrotrade.

After he sold the fuel, he reportedly misappropriated the cash, and under pressure from Gova to repay the loan, Shoko allegedly raised a false claim against Petrotrade leading to the company’s prosecution.

But, Petrotrade later realised that Shoko had duped the oil company of the said fuel and demanded payment from him whereupon he made an initial deposit of $33 000 into its account and paid the outstanding balance of $4 272 in February this year.

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