Miner cleared of $4m gold fraud charge

HARARE - A Kwekwe-based miner of Australian origin, who was accused of failing to remit $4 million worth of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Fidelity), has been freed after the State consented to the withdrawal of charges against him.

Lee Waverley John was accused of contravening the Gold Trade Act and was jointly charged with Williat Jayadara Mupepe.

The two approached the Constitutional Court seeking a stay of prosecution, arguing that their right to be tried within a reasonable time had been violated.

Prosecutor Editor Mavuto on Wednesday asked the Constitutional Court to strike the matter off the roll.

“We intend to withdraw charges against the two applicants for want of prosecution,” Mavuto said.

According to State papers, John was cited as Home Stake Mining and Technical Services managing director, while Mupepe was mentioned as the firm’s security officer.

It was alleged that charges against the two arose between 2001 and 2004, when Home Stake Mining and Technical Services produced 998, 796 kilogrammes of gold.

The court heard that out of the 998, 796 kilogrammes that the company produced, the two only submitted 331, 1947 kilogrammes to Fidelity.

According to court papers, John and Mupepe were the ones responsible for ensuring that gold bullion is delivered to Fidelity in Harare, as required by the Gold Trade Act.

It is alleged the duo failed to deliver and account for 667, 6013 kilogrammes of gold valued at $4 512 167, 68.

The State had sought to lead evidence from Jeremiah Chideme and Isaac Newton Bamusi, who were to tell the court about gold quantities that were produced between the period in question.

John and Mupepe were represented by Jethro Nyarota and Valentine Mutatu respectively.

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