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Businessman jailed 10 years for swindling Singaporean investor

A businessman has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a Bindura magistrate for swindling his business partner of an investment worth US$517 000.

A LOCAL businessman has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a Bindura magistrate for swindling his Singaporean business partner of an investment worth US$517 000.

By Desmond Chingarande

Fradreck Utsiwegota (38) fraudulently changed the shareholding structure and sold the mining company’s assets using a fake writ of execution order.

He will spend seven years in jail after magistrate Tinashe Ndokera suspended three years on condition of good behaviour.

Ramason Bupedra, the Singaporean, had  initially stopped his partner Utsiwegota from further selling company assets through his lawyers Augustine Borerwe and David Ngwerume.

The court heard that Utsiwegota had sold several assets which include mining stamp mills valued at US$81 000, generators valued US$25 000, vehicles valued US$102 000, motor bikes, water pumps and electric motors worth thousands of dollars.

Bupedra told the court that he formed Decade Mining in 2012 with Utsiwegota and David Barnett Silver, whose whereabouts are unknown.

On June 27, 2013, due to differences among the directors, Silver was barred by the High Court from acting as a director.

The company went on to acquire several assets that included trucks, mills, generators, compressors and water pumps.

In July of that same year, Bupedra left Zimbabwe for Singapore to attend to other business interests, leaving Utsiwegota in charge of their gold mill in Shamva.

During Bupedra’s absence, Utsiwegota would send him messages, urging him not to come back, claiming their mining business was facing political interference and that his life would be in danger. 

Out of fear, Bupedra stayed away and only returned to the country in February 2018, following a change of government.

Upon his return, Utsiwegota allegedly told him that he had done a share swap deal with Silver and now owned 76%. 

Bupedra went to the Registrar of Companies to verify the purported change, but the company file could not be located.

Bupedra then went to the company premises and discovered that several assets had been sold. 

On enquiring, Bupedra was told that a fraudulent company called Utsi Mining Syndicate, purportedly owned by Utsiwegota’s brother, Emmanuel obtained an order against Decade Mining Company under a High Court matter which he did not know.

The Singaporean then went back to the Registrar of Companies to verify the Utsi Mining Syndicate shareholding and found out that the registration number used at the High Court was for a company called Dual Holdings whose directors are Denford Juru and Monalisa Chipatiso.

That is when he discovered that he had been duped by Utsiwegota and his brother Emmanuel who used a non-existent company to fraudulently obtain a court order used to strip Decade Mining of its assets.