Bell Petroleum in court over US$95k fraud

Prosper Dembedza
Herald Correspondent

Bell Petroleum [Pvt] Ltd and its director on Wednesday appeared in court facing allegations of defrauding a client of US$95 502 in a botched fuel deal.

The petroleum company and Daniel Guzha appeared before Harare magistrate, Mr Dennis Mangosi.

Guzha was granted US$500 bail.

The company and the complainant have a business relationship dating back to 2022 when the complainant was getting bulk fuel from the accused.

The complainant would pay in advance and fuel would later be delivered in agreed time frames.

On March 19, 2024, the complainant needed 40 000 litres of diesel.

She contacted Guzha as usual and received a quotation of US$ 60 000. The money was paid through two transfers of US$10 000 on March 19, and US$ 40 000 on March 20, 2024. A cash payment of US$ 10 000 was made and Guzha signed to acknowledge receiving it.

After acknowledging receipt of US$ 40 000, Bell Petroleum only supplied 20 000 litres of fuel and promised to supply the balance.
On March 22, 2024, the complainant made another payment of US$ 57 000 into Bell Petroleum’s account to bring the total balance to US$ 90 605.

The petroleum company then delivered 20 000 litres of fuel.

On 28 March, 2024, Bell Petroleum delivered another 40 000 litres and the balance owed became US$ 12 005.

The court heard that Guzha then advised the complainant that could reduce his prices if she purchased anything above 80 000 litres.

The complainant made a payment of US$ 140 000 to get 120 000 litres of fuel.

It is alleged that Guzha acknowledged receiving the money and delivered 49 987 litres of fuel on April 7 and 10, 2024.

He promised to deliver the remaining 70 013 litres.

The complainant followed up on the issue but Guzha became evasive.

The offence came to light when the complainant was informed that she had not paid for the fuel she was claiming. In response, she pulled out all the proof of payment documents and delivery notes of the fuel she had received.

This prompted the complainant to conduct some preliminary investigations into the matter and she discovered that Guzha was in possession of forged delivery notes showing that she had received the fuel under dispute, when in actual she had not.

As a result of accused person’s actions, the complainant suffered a prejudice of US$ 95 502 and nothing was recovered.

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