By Nqobile Tshili
Police in Bulawayo have arrested two Harare suspected fraudsters who allegedly used a briefcase company to swindle two chemical supplying companies of products worth more than $32 000.
Elton Charowedza (46) and Hamprey Hapanyengwi Magutsa (36) allegedly used fake receipts as proof of payment and prejudiced two Bulawayo companies of chemicals worth over $32 000.
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele yesterday confirmed the pair’s arrest after they committed the crimes on May 2 and May 10.
She said the suspects claimed to be employees of Monaco Investments, a non-existent company.
Using the non-existent company name, they sought quotations for certain products from targeted companies.
They would then produce fake bank money transfer slips as proof of payment.
“We have arrested two suspects for allegedly defrauding two Bulawayo companies of chemicals worth $32 452. They defrauded their first victim of 60 x 25kg caustic soda and 15x 40kg sulphuric acid. The products cost $17 220 while in the second instance they defrauded another chemicals company of 80 bags of caustic soda worth $15 232,” she said.
“The suspects would make fake Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) receipts with claims that they made the payments from one of the local banks. After producing the receipts they would collect the items purported to be bought resulting in companies suffering losses.”
Asst Insp Msebele said after the first company was defrauded, it proceeded to the bank to check why its money was not reflecting.
She said at the bank, that’s where it was learnt that the receipts were fake as no transaction of that nature was made.
Asst Insp Msebele said company officials reported the matter to the police.
“So when the suspects used the same modus operandi to defraud the second company, its proprietors already knew about the trick. They, however, allowed the suspects to make payments. The suspects did not directly go and collect their chemicals as they hired a local truck driver to do it on their behalf,” she said.
“When the truck driver arrived to collect chemicals, the company notified the police Commercial Crimes Division of his presence and the cops swiftly reacted. They monitored the driver’s activities who led them to the suspects and police officers arrested them.”
Both companies recovered their products after the suspects were arrested.
Asst Insp Msebele said several cases were recorded against Monaco Investments and police suspect that a number of criminals are part of the syndicate.
She urged businesses to verify authenticity of payments made especially through RTGS before supplying goods and commodities. The Chronicle