Con-artist drops ED’s name in US$488 000 fraud case
By Desmond Chingarande
A 33-year-old Harare con-artist dropped President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name in a fraud case involving close to half a million United States dollars.
The woman, Eustine Charambira (33), duped a Harare man Erasmus Chimbumu of US$488 000 in a mining chemical deal, telling her victim that she would only pay him back upon receipt of US$1 million from a deal that involved Mnangagwa and some unnamed army generals.
Charambira appeared before magistrate Dennis Mangosi at Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.
The State consented to $50 000 bail and Mangosi demanded that she surrenders title deeds of her property since the value of the money was high.
Mangosi then asked for a full bail application after the accused person failed to produce a surety of property valued at US$60 000.
The matter was postponed to Monday for bail application.
Allegations are that last October, Charambira was approached by the complainant, whose name was not provided in court papers, who wanted to buy mining chemicals.
He was referred to by one of his suppliers, Ragu Sivaragas.
Charambira told the complainant that, indeed, she had a company that imported the chemicals from the United Kingdom through Durban, South Africa, where they would collect them into the country.
It is alleged that the complainant told the accused person that he had only RTGS to pay for the chemicals after Charambira told him that her company only sold the chemicals in United States dollars.
Charambira allegedly phoned the complainant the next day and advised him to send the money in local currency to various bank accounts and suppliers, who would change the money into US dollars at the black market rate.
It is alleged that from October to December 2020, the complainant sent money to various accounts supplied by Charambira.
She allegedly told the complainant that he would get his chemicals in January 2021, but later changed stance and told him that the money had been stolen after failing to meet her deadline.
The complainant allegedly reported the matter to Borrowdale Police Station and she was summoned.
It is alleged Charambira told the police that she delayed telling the complainant that the money was stolen because the person who stole the money promised to pay it back in April this year.
After being further asked, Charambira told the complainant that she was expecting US$1 million from an investor, who is based in the United Kingdom in a deal that involved the President and some army generals.
Charambira again asked for US$100 000 to charter a private jet for the investor from the UK to Zimbabwe so that he could bring the US$1 million, which is part of the deal which she promised to use to pay him back.
The complainant allegedly sent US$50 000 to Chirambira through Sivaragas, but he later on established that there was no investor brought from the UK and that there was no money that was stolen.
The State alleges the accused person prejudiced the complainant of US$488 000 and nothing was recovered.
Monalisa Magwenzi appeared for the State. NewsDay