TOTAL Zimbabwe, which is owned by French oil giant Total Petroleum, has been dragged to court for allegedly defrauding a franchise fuel dealer of $26 000 meant for fuel the company was supposed to deliver.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE
The company has already pleaded not guilty to fraud through its consultant, Masimba Chikawe, who appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Sithembiso Ncube on Tuesday.
The matter was remanded to December 20.
Charges against Total Zimbabwe are that sometime in May 2011, the company’s depot in Bulawayo contacted Davis Mafurirano, who is related to the dealer, Ronnah Mafurirano, who operated Skyorks Service Station belonging to Total Zimbabwe.
The company asked him to come and witness the loading of 10 000 litres of fuel destined for Skyorks Service Station.
After witnessing the loading of the fuel into a tanker, Mafurirano signed on the loading advice slip to indicate that, indeed, he had witnessed the loading.
This was written on a manual invoice, which was supposed to be updated to an electronic invoice.
The following day, the complainant, Ronnah, made a follow up on her fuel after Total Zimbabwe failed to deliver the consignment as agreed.
She was told that the truck was on its way to her service station, but it never arrived.
Two days later, Total Zimbabwe raised an invoice for the service station, allegedly purporting that the fuel had been delivered, but the invoice had not been stamped by the security as per procedure.
From May 10 to October 19, Ronnah made various fuel orders with the company, which she paid for.
However, on October 20, she made another order, but she was advised that she was in arrears of $26 000 for the disputed delivery.
She checked with her bank and discovered that $26 000 had been deducted from her account to Total Zimbabwe, and she reported the matter to the police.