$400k fugitive back in court

HARARE - A Waterfalls man was yesterday hauled before the courts for absconding trial in a 2011 charge of defrauding South African company Boss Logistics fertiliser worth $400 000.

Farai Gwekwerere, 33, was granted bail in 2011 on his first appearance in court, where a  June 13, 2011 trial date was set.

He reportedly fled the country without standing trial. He was apprehended on Saturday.

Gwekwerere told the court he failed to attend court because he had gone for an eye operation.

Prosecutor Michael Reza opposed bail on the basis that Gwekwerere was a flight risk.

He said Gwekwerere was lying about the eye operation because “he stole from 58 drivers and all of them confirmed the person they dealt with to have one eye meaning that accused person has always had one eye.”

Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei remanded the matter to December 3.

Reza alleges that in September 2008, Boss Logistics Company based in Johannesburg South Africa was contracted by Sasolburg Omnia Company to transport 2 000 tonnes of compound WVC omnia fertiliser to Ominia Fertiliser Company in Mapongwe, Zambia.

The fertiliser was transported by rail and delivered at Bak Storage, in Harare, where it would be reloaded into trucks and transported to Zambia, the court heard.

It is the State’s case that towards end of September 2008, Gwekwerere phoned Rodrick Allan Kirkhorf of Boss Logistics seeking a contract to transport the fertiliser from Harare to Zambia.

The contract was reportedly granted over the phone and Gwekwerere provided an email with an attachment of Mega Logistics (Pvt) Limited letterhead bearing false addresses of Mt Pleasant and Ruwa as his business premises.

It is further alleged that Gwekwerere then incorporated Raymond Phiri and others only mentioned as Vincent, Tendai and Hendricks who are co-accused, and are still at large. He allegedly subcontracted various other transport companies and instructed them to load 29 tonnes of the fertiliser.

Gwekwerere and others allegedly misrepresented to the transporters that they owned the fertiliser and instructed them to deliver the loads at various places in Lusaka, Zambia. The offence came to light on October 20, 2008 when Boss Logistics contacted one of the transport companies, Cardlane and was informed by the driver Zviito Chakwana that he had off loaded his truck at a farm in Zambia under Gwekwerere’s instruction.

The State further alleged that interviews were made on drivers and owners of the transport companies and they all revealed that they believed Gwekwerere was the owner and that they worked under his instructions.

The drivers also identified Gwekwerere as the person who hired them.

The court heard that only two transport companies delivered the fertiliser at the correct destination and Boss Logistics lost fertiliser worth $414 700. Nothing was recovered.

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