Businessman acquitted on $1 million fuel fraud


A HARARE couple was acquitted on a $1 million suspected fuel scam involving a South African fuel distributor, Broad Fuels.


Chirango Muvirimi and his wife Petronella were set free last week after regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled that there was no evidence directly linking the couple to the commission of the crime.

The couple, which runs two fuel distribution companies, ADDX Trading 528 (Pty) Ltd and Downtown Petroleum, was being charged of defrauding their South African counterpart of fuel worth $1 million.

In his ruling, Mujaya said the first complainant in the matter, Mark Broadband of Broad Fuels, had failed to provide evidence that would warrant the suspects to be put to their defence.

Broad Fuels’ co-director Pedzisai Garwe also failed to prove through calculation how the couple allegedly swindled them of a total of $988 104, that was meant to purchase fuel.

Instead, Mujaya blasted police detectives for taking an active role in advising the complainants on what to do and how to frame the charges, which was not part of the law-enforcement agents’ line of duty.

Allegations against Muvirimi were that in February 2008, he verbally misrepresented to the directors of Broad Fuels that he was an international fuel dealer and trader and that his firm was a registered agent of Sasol Oil, a South African fuel firm.

It is alleged he claimed that he was in a position to supply Broad Fuels’ sister firms with fuel, adding that deliveries would be done through his company following which payments were made, but fuel deliveries were not done, an assertion Muvirimi dismissed as unfounded.

Harare lawyer Charles Chinyama represented the couple.