A LOCAL businessman was left counting his losses after he paid US$106 800 to a man who claimed to be a farmer based in South Africa to deliver tonnes of maize. The man disappeared upon receiving the money.
The director of Best Blue Milling Company, Tafadzwa Tavengwa, allegedly received a phone call from Never Sithole saying he was a farmer based in South Africa. He went on to say he could supply him with maize in bulk. A source close to investigations said the businessman invited Sithole for discussions.
“On 17 August Sithole came to his office at Kelvin North industrial site where discussions were held after which Tavengwa who was enticed by the deal paid US$50 000 as initial payment,” said the source.
B-Metro also spoke to a source who is privy to the deal, and they revealed that said on 20 August Tavengwa phoned Sithole and made a second payment.
“He paid US$6 800 on 20 August. He made the last payment of US$50 000 on 27 August bringing the total amount that he paid to US$106 800,” said the source.
To assure Tavengwa that he was truthful about the deal, Sithole left photocopies of his passport and identity card.
“He left his cellphone number and they agreed that Tavengwa would phone him after two days when he would have sorted out his maize,” said the source.
The unsuspecting Tavengwa phoned Sithole before he dispatched a haulage truck to collect the maize from South Africa but he got the shock of his life as Sithole’s mobile number went into voicemail.
He made a police report.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed: “We confirm that we are investigating a case of fraud where a local businessman was duped of US$106 800 in a botched maize deal. We encourage members of the public to verify background information about the person whom they would be entering a deal with before parting with their hard earned cash.”