A 42-year-old bogus Harare firm director, Melvin Marembo, yesterday appeared at the Mbare Magistrates’ Court charged with swindling maize farmers of a total of $15 972 while masquerading as a buyer and owner of a company called Salted Zimbabwe Maputi.
Marembo pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before Mbare resident magistrate Anita Tshuma, who remanded him in custody to today for his bail ruling.
Prosecutor Mirirai Mavenwa opposed bail arguing Marembo was a flight risk considering that he had been on the run since September last year when the matter was reported to the police and above all there was overwhelming evidence against him.
Allegations against Marembo are that sometime between September and November last year, he was at High Glen shopping centre where he misrepresented to various maize farmers that he was a company director buying maize at $400 per tonne.
The State alleges Marembo even went on to place advertisements in the Press identifying himself as a company director and also provided his contact details.
The State further alleges, the victims then contacted Marembo and made arrangements to deliver maize at number 21 High Glen shopping centre where they were provided with receipts indicating the date on which they were to collect their cash.
However, the farmers later realised they had been conned when Marembo did not turn up at the building when the farmers came to collect their money.
It is alleged the matter was then reported to the police and when Marembo got wind of it, he went into hiding and started avoiding the farmers’ phone calls.
According to investigations carried out by the police, the said Salted Zimbabwe Maputi Company was not a registered firm as claimed by Marembo, who was arrested this week.
His trial is set to begin on July 21.