Home » Industry » Pakistanis Swindle Zim Businesswoman

THREE Pakistanis, who are in steel manufacturing businesses in Zimbabwe, were this week dragged to the courts for swindling a shareholder whose name has been not supplied of $545 766 in a botched investment deal.

Javaid Akhtar, 33, Abdul Sattar, 44, and Naeem Muhamamad, 33, were charged with fraud when they appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe Monday.

State opposed granting bail citing that the three were likely to flee if released out of custody.

However on Tuesday Mahwe echoed the trio’s defence that being foreigners does not necessarily mean they were a flight risk and ordered them to deposit $500 each as bail with reporting conditions.

They were also ordered to surrender their passports at the clerk of court and remanded to June 15 for trial.

According to the state, the first accused is the director of Steel World Pvt Limited while the second is a director of and shareholder of Simbi alloy Pvt Ltd, both in the business of steel manufacturing. Muhammad, according to the state, is also the director Glanmond manufacturing Pvt Ltd.

Agreed facts are that sometime in November 2013, the businesswoman was approached byAkhtar who informed her that he was looking for local investors who could take up 51percent shares to partner in steel manufacturing.

It is alleged that Akhtar went on to cite that he was working with Rana Akbar who was Tuesday arraigned before the courts facing same charges.

The complainant got interested in the deal and brought in her business partner, Merrissa Sarudzayi Midziyarova. The two agreed to invest in the accused’s company and had meetings to this effect.

Akhtar and Akbar further convinced the complainant by producing a fictitious cash flow statements and statistics. The presentation highlighted that over $1 million was needed for the project to kick start.

The complainant paid $50 000 as first instalment and later made subsequent payments of $149 500 direct to the accused persons between January and March 2014.

Both parties then settled for Simbi alloy Pvt Ltd as their trade name and there was now need to apply for a license with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA).

The first accused and one Rana akbar opted out and replaced themselves with Sataar and one Hasnain Rasul who is still at large, arguing their names were already in the ZIA database as directors with other companies. However, they did not introduce the pair to the complainant.

In May 2014 the complainant then realised that Akhtar and Akbar were failing to acquire the licence and took over the process.

During the process ZIA withheld the application submitted by the complainant after noticing Akhtar and Akbar’s involvement. ZIA records showed that the two previously used the same equipment cited in the new application when they acquired an investment licence for Glanmod manufacturing Pvt Ltd Company which was due for renewal in May this year.

Both parties were invited for an interview on this matter but the accused did not turn up.

The complainant then became suspicious and made enquiries with Weighing Scale Company. It was revealed that a value of $74 612, contrary to $130 000 which the accused had misrepresented to her, was the actual cost. The complainant also visited ZESA offices where she obtained a quotation for new ZESA substation whose value had been inflated by the accused to $130 000 instead of $50000 pegged by ZESA as standard cost.

The accused also inflated the price of a mill as $125 000 while the actual cost was $45 000. Operations eventually failed to commence as planned as the accused were now evasive. Operations were to commence towards the end of last year.

During the period extending September 2014 to April 2015 accused persons, now in company of Muhhammad and Sataar, received quantities of steel from the complainant for export to Mozambique, amounting to $545 766 but failed to account for the said funds after the sale. The complainant then made a report to the police leading to the arrest of the trio on May 22.

Source : New Zimbabwe