HomeNewsFugitive Harare businessman in court

Fugitive Harare businessman in court

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A FUGITIVE Harare businessman Farai Gwekwerere, who allegedly skipped bail and went on the run in 2011 before commencement of his trial on fraud charges involving fertilizer worth $400 000, was arrested last Saturday and brought to court yesterday.

PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

Gwekwerere told the court yesterday that he had gone out of the country for an eye operation and therefore could not attend trial.

However, prosecutor Michael Reza dismissed the claims arguing that Gwekwerere “has always had one eye and all the drivers he subcontracted to transport the fertiliser to his buyers, knew they had dealt with a man with one eye.”

Gwekwerere was arrested for fraud in 2011 and his trial was scheduled to begin on June 13 that same year, after he had been granted bail by the High Court. However, he never turned up for trial and had been on the run ever since.

Allegations against Gwekwerere are that sometime in September 2008, he connived with Raymond Phiri and three others, who are all still at large, and stole 2 000 tonnes of fertiliser worth $414 700 which were in transit to Zambia from a South African company, Boss Logistics.

The consignment was being kept at Bak Storage in Harare, awaiting transportation.

The court heard that Boss Logistics had been contracted by Sasolburg Omnia company to transport the fertilizer from Johannesburg to Zambia. The fertilizer was transported by rail and delivered at Bak Storage in Harare from where it was to be reloaded into trucks and transported by road to Zambia.

Towards the end of September, Gwekwerere got wind of the consignment and phoned an official from Boss Logistics seeking a contract to transport the fertiliser to Zambia. He was asked to provide his business details and he sent an email to Boss Logistics with an attachment of Mega Logistics letterhead bearing fake Mt Pleasant and Ruwa addresses which he indicated were his business addresses.

He allegedly incorporated his accomplices only identified as Phiri, Vincent, Tendai and Hendricks and they subcontracted 11 different transporters whom they instructed to load the fertiliser after misrepresenting that they were the owners.

It is further alleged that Gwekwerere and his accomplices ordered the transporters to transport the fertilizer to their buyers in Zambia. The offence came to light when Boss Logistics discovered that the fertiliser had not reached its intended destination.

All the transport owners identified Gwekwerere as the person who had claimed ownership of the fertiliser before hiring them, leading to his arrest in 2011.

The court remanded him in custody to December 3 for trial.

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