Source: Man in the dock for defrauding firm US$5m | The Herald July 24, 2019
Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
A 35-year-old Harare businessman yesterday appeared in court for allegedly defrauding Axia Cooperation Limited of nearly US$5 million.
Tauya Langton Makoni appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko, facing fraud and money laundering charges, and was granted $2 000 bail.
Makoni, a fund director with Alba Consolidated, allegedly used the money to buy gold mine claims and 3 186 tobacco bales worth US$2,2 million through Amazon Tobacco, Bullion Leaf Tobacco and Servermox Tobacco.
He allegedly bought office furniture worth $250, jewellery equipment and motor vehicles, transferred US$250 000 to each of his accomplices and bought other properties which are yet to be established.
Makoni appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Barbra Mateko, charged with fraud and money laundering.
The complainant is Axia Cooperation Limited represented by its company secretary Zwelinzima Lunga and Makoni is Alba Consolidated Fund director, which is in the business of trading finance.
In November 2017, Axia Cooperation’s finance director Ray Rambanapasi and his colleague Raymond Nyamuziwa started looking for companies to facilitate payments for their foreign suppliers.
During the same period, Makoni’s accomplices Christopher Vurombo Hokonya and Zivanai Michael Moyo contacted Rambanapasi and claimed they were referred by Nyamuziwa.
It is alleged that Hokonya and Moyo claimed to be consultants of a Malaysian company called Anametrics Holdings Limited, which has a fund project company in Zimbabwe called Alba Consolidated Fund.
The duo allegedly misrepresented that Anametrics had capacity to pay out foreign suppliers using confirmed letters of credit and the parties entered into an agreement, where Makoni will issue confirmed letters of credit and Axia Cooperation would release the funds locally.
The court heard that Makoni undertook to send Axia Cooperation confirmed letters of credit from their different companies in South Africa equivalent to US$5 million and in turn, Axia Cooperation would deposit the equivalent into Alba Consolidated Fund’s Zimbabwean accounts.
Rambanapasi and his boss John Kumises signed the agreement before sending it to Chumatas Vongvorakit, who Makoni claimed was Anametrics’ chief executive officer, the court heard.
In February last year, Makoni allegedly emailed the complainant, citing that they had obtained letters of credit and Axia Cooperation Limited was supposed to release the funds into their FBC and Stanbic bank accounts.
It is the State’s case that Makoni also claimed the letters of credit were to be cleared and creditors settled in 45 days, thus the company had to release the money and wait for 45 days to lapse.
On February 6, Axia Cooperation transferred US$4 240 633 into the Stanbic account and US$725 874 into the FBC account.
On February 19, Makoni allegedly sent a letter acknowledging the receipt of funds and promised to provide payment schedules to each supplier’s bank between seven to 14 banking days. After the stipulated 45 days, Axia Cooperation noted that no payments had been made and made follow-ups.
Makoni made excuses, claiming the money had been blocked in South Africa and requested more time.
After several follow-ups, nothing materialised, prompting the company to report to the police in April this year.