Businessman in court over 30t fertiliser fraud Despite international pressure from Western governments and human rights organisations, Uganda introduced one of the world’s strictest statutes against the LGBT community in May. The legislation stipulates a sentence of life imprisonment for consensual same-sex relations.

Prosper Dembedza
Court Correspondent
A suspected bogus Harare businessman who allegedly duped an unsuspecting man of 30 tonnes of fertiliser, appeared in court on Saturday facing charges of fraud.

Dereck Dumisani Rugedhla was before Harare magistrate Mrs Yeukai Dzuda for trial on allegations that in April 2019, the complainant Mr Albert Mubaiwa wanted 15 tonnes of Compound D and so contacted him.

He had heard that Rugedhla was involved in the supply of fertiliser, and was assured that he had the 30 tonnes of fertiliser on his farm. It is the State’s case that on April 11, 2019, Mr Mubaiwa transferred $30 000 into Rugedhla’s First Capital Bank account from his Cabs account. Rugedhla acknowledged receipt of the money and promised to deliver the fertiliser. Mr Mubaiwa contacted Rugedhla several times asking for the consignment, but he was evasive, and continued to give endless promises until he was no longer answering calls.

Mr Mubaiwa suffered a prejudice of over $30 000 and nothing was recovered. While testifying during the trial, Mr Mubaiwa told Mrs Dzuda that Rugedhla had told him that he had fertiliser at his farm in Bindura.  He was asked by Rugedhla to hire a truck to collect the fertiliser and he did so, but then started getting excuses, despite the truck having been hired. The truck left Bindura after several days waiting for him and the fertiliser, after Rugedhla failed to deliver.

Mr Mubaiwa told the magistrate that after confronting Rugedhla’s wife, he was told that he was outside the country in South Korea, resulting in him filing a report with the police.

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