Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Businesswoman and former Zimbabwe’s Honorary Consular for Investment and Trade in the United Arab Emirates Shamiso Fred yesterday appeared in court for allegedly swindling a foreign currency dealer of $1,4 million.
Fred (46), who had close relations with fired Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, was not asked to plead to fraud when she appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Learnmore Mapiye.
Fred is director for Centreshot Investments, which operates from Alexandra Park in Harare, a company that at some stage tried to bring the Formula One Grand Prix to Victoria Falls, working with the Ministry of Tourism. The deal, however, failed after the Nigerian sponsors accused Fred of defrauding them.
Mrs Mapiye granted her $3 000 bail before deferring the case to September 23.
As part of her bail conditions Fred was ordered to surrender her passport with the Clerk of Court. She must report to the police twice a week. Fred was also ordered to continue staying at her given address pending completion of the criminal case. She was warned against interfering with State witnesses and investigations while on bail.
The complainant is Aissa Ussen who operates Zimexpress, a duly-registered bureau de change operating from Borrowdale.
It is the State’s case that sometime in February this year, Fred approached Ussen intending to change her US$10 000 into South African rands.
It is alleged that whilst they were chatting, Fred told Ussen that she was appointed by the Government as the Zimbabwe consular for investment and trade in the United Arab Emirates and that she was facilitating many deals for the Zimbabwean Government, including an unnamed project in Victoria Falls.
The court heard that after realising that Ussen was convinced by her assertions, Fred allegedly inquired if Ussen had local funds and cash in exchange for her free funds in the UAE to which she confirmed.
It is the State’s case that Fred claimed that she had obligations to meet locally and requested Ussen to transfer the funds to the provided accounts in turn she would pay her using her free funds in the UAE.
Acting upon the misrepresentation, Ussen provided her bank details to Fred to transfer the funds into.
It is alleged that Fred misrepresented that she had deposited $1 400 000 into Ussen’s bank account in batches of $750 000 and $650 000 before producing fake proof of payment.
It is alleged that after some days, Ussen checked with her bank account only to discover she had been duped. Efforts by Ussen to recover her money failed resulting in the institution of criminal proceedings.
Due to the misrepresentation, the State alleges Ussen suffered an actual prejudice of $1 400 000.