A HARARE mechanical engineer has been accused of swindling his business partner, a French national of over ₧141 000 in a botched chrome-mining joint venture.
The 53-year-old Macleod Tembo was supposed to appear before regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa on Friday last week, but the matter failed to be heard and the court record was endorsed “not taken” after it emerged Tembo had not received personal service of the court summons.
According to the court papers, the complainant in the matter is one Pierre Sarrasin who is based in France, but interested in investing in the chrome-mining industry in Zimbabwe.
Allegations against Tembo, who is also a mining consultant, are that sometime in July 2011 he partnered Sarrasin to run a chrome-mining firm after agreeing terms and condition of the joint venture.
It is alleged it was agreed that Sarrasin would have 49% shares in the firm and was tasked to inject money for the growth and development of the mining firm while Tembo would coordinate operations in Zimbabwe.
Tembo, it is further alleged, then bought a shelf company Luclay Mining (Private) Ltd and drafted a business proposal which indicated that money in excess of $108 000 was needed for buying mining claims and equipment that included a tractor, an excavator, a water pump, compressor, a vehicle and a generator.
According to the State, between the period of August and December 2 2011, Sarrasin allegedly transferred a total of ₧141 000 into Luclay Mining account held with NMB bank Southerton branch in Harare for purposes of funding the business venture.
However, instead of buying the mining equipment, it is alleged, Tembo converted the money to his personal use and only bought mining claims that he knew or ought to have known had already been mined.
Tembo’s luck however, ran out in February 2012 when Sarrasin came to Zimbabwe to check on the progress of the mine whereupon he discovered his partner had allegedly made himself the sole signatory to the company account and that it had only $38, 41 as balance.
The matter was reported to the police leading to Tembo’s arrest. Tinashe Kanyemba appeared for the State.