The Sunday News
Sunday News Reporter
A SOUTH Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman is still seeking justice, more than two years after allegedly being swindled of almost US$700 000.
Mr Prince Abraham, who is the managing director of Nedlac Automation based in South Africa and Nedlac Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd based in Zimbabwe, was allegedly duped by a Bulawayo businesswoman Delny Deanna Ashley Davies in 2018.
The episode hit Mr Abraham so hard that he packed his bags and left for South Africa where he has other business interests. His local unit, Nedlac Enterprises (Pvt), has since closed, rendering several people jobless. Davies, the woman who allegedly duped Mr Abraham was arrested in 2019 and brought before the courts facing fraud charges.
But over a year after her arrest the matter is still pending before the courts.
“The matter went to court and it’s dragging. There’s no movement,” a frustrated Mr Abraham told Sunday News.
According to court records, sometime in November 2018, Davies allegedly hatched a plan to defraud Mr Abraham of US$700 000, which she partly used to settle her debt. Davies allegedly misrepresented to Mr Abraham that she could assist him settle some payments in South Africa using her free funds which were in the neighbouring country.
Mr Abraham took the bait and allegedly transferred US$700 000 into her account, to settle two invoices amounting to R3 500 000.
Of the amount, R3 070 000 was to be settled to Maggotteax South Africa and R430 000 to Toyota Nelspruit.
But it is alleged that Davies did not live up to her commitment. According to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) she, instead converted the money to her own use.
“When the money (US$700 000) was transferred into an Ecobank account, US$72 000 financed an overdraft and US$628 000 was transferred to a Steward Bank account,” court records read in part.
Investigations by Zacc established that R450 000 was paid to Nedlac Automation South Africa by Davies and she converted a balance of R3 050 000 to her own use. Only US$7 432 was recovered, out of the US$700 000.
“I have to commend Zacc for that. They’re really doing a good job,” Mr Abraham said.
Zacc spokesperson Mr John Makamure said the matter was before the courts and Zacc had done its part in effecting the arrest.
“Zacc investigated the matter and made an arrest. The matter is now before the courts,” he said.
With the matter still dragging, Mr Abraham feels more should be done to protect investors from being prejudiced of capital that can create employment.
“I really want to invest back home but it’s discouraging when you see people who took your money still walking scot free with the law taking time to effectively deal with the issue.”
Mr Abraham revealed that when he first reported the matter to the police in June 2019, the matter took about eight months with little progress.
“I had to approach Zacc, that’s when arrests were made,” revealed Mr Abraham.
The closure of Nedlac Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd has not affected employees, but many others downstream who were benefitting from the company’s corporate social responsibility programme.
“I was running a corporate social responsibility programme in Bulawayo with a lady called Rebecca Murazhi. We assisted a lot of homeless people in the city. Now those people can’t be assisted anymore because Nedlac is closed,” he said.