BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A SUSPECTED international fraudster, Gift Chaapo Madhlayo, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday on allegations of defrauding local bus company Megalink (Pvt) Ltd of $177 000 in a botched bus import deal.
Madhlayo (44) denied the fraud charges before regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa remanded the matter to today for trial.
The complainant in the matter is Megalink (Private) Limited, which is into the business of importing buses from China.
Madhlayo is expected to appear for trial today.
Allegations are that sometime in 2015, Madhlayo approached the bus firm and misrepresented that he was an agent for an Israeli company, Polo Trade Finance, and indicated that he had the capacity to source funding and loans of up to $3,5 million to assist the complainant import Zhongtong buses from China.
Madhlayo allegedly demanded and received an advance payment of $177 000 as facilitation and commitment fees.
The State alleges due to Madhlayo’s misrepresentation, the complainant, through his supplier Zhongtong Buses (Pvt) Ltd, started shipping arrangements anticipating that the letter of credit would go through.
On February 18 last year, Madhlayo supplied a forged credit note valued at $3 582 500, which he allegedly claimed came from Polo Trade Finance.
The complainant allegedly in turn mailed the concocted letter of credit to his bus supplier in China, who discovered that the copy was fake and not funded.
It is alleged Zhongtong also discovered the finance firm did not exist at the said address.
The complainant then engaged Madhlayo who became evasive and relocated from his known address, prompting the complainant to report the matter.
Constance Ngombengombe appeared for the State.