South African investor swindled of $3,5m in botched mining deal

South African investor swindled of $3,5m in botched mining deal

A LOCAL miner yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court charged with swindling a South African investor of $3,5 million in a botched mining deal.

Source: South African investor swindled of $3,5m in botched mining deal – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 2, 2017


The suspect Talep Mohammad, who is the managing director of Aquarium Trading (Pvt) Ltd based in Gweru, was not asked to plead when he appeared before, Barbara Chimboza, who remanded him to March 28 on $200 bail.

According to court papers, the money was extended to Mohammed by Tamira Overseas, a company based in Belize, South Africa, as loan for the purpose of a mining development.

Mohammad is being charged both in his personal capacity and as a company representative, while the complainant company is represented by Valenko Nikolai.

It is the State’s case that sometime in September 2012 Mohammad represented Tamira Overseas, which was looking for investment in Zimbabwe.

The State alleges Mohammad, with intention to deprive Tamira Trading, requested for a loan from Nikolai for the development and operational costs for a mine called Malaya 30 which was owned by him.

It is alleged Nikolai acceded to the request basing on the misrepresentation made to him by Mohammad and the parties entered into a written agreement in which the money was specifically for the development and operational costs for Malaya 30.

Initially Nikolai extended a $400 000 loan to Aquarium Trading, which was converted to other uses, not agreed in the written agreement.

In a bid to cover up the offense Mohammad, on several occasions, allegedly gave false updates through e-mails to Nikolai.

On May 6, 2014 Mohammad again lured Nikolai to extend another $400 000 loan for the development of the mine, which was again misappropriated bringing the total prejudice to $800 000.

During the same period Mohammad misrepresented to Nikolai that he was selling 48 shares from his 60 shares of the company for $715 000 and he further promised Nikolai that he would process all the papers so that he could become a shareholder of Aquarium.

Nikolai allegedly paid the amount and on March 15, 2013 they entered into a share purchase agreement during which time Mohammad requested Nikolai to inject another $2 million into Aquarium Trading as an investment and he complied.

The offense came to light at the end of year 2014 when Nikolai engaged auditors who unearthed Mohammad’s misappropriation of the funds and it was also established there was no development at Malaya 30 leading to his arrest.

Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.