Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
Fidelity Printers and Refiners head of gold operations Mehluleli Dube is appearing at Harare Magistrates’ Court on allegations of approving a $183 000 gold purchase after police advised him to stop the transaction due to ongoing criminal investigations.
The court heard that the gold had been allegedly purchased using proceeds of a crime.
Mehluleli Dube (40) is facing obstruction of justice or alternatively money laundering charges.
Through his defence counsel Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Dube applied for exception to the charges, but the application was dismissed by Harare magistrate Ms Lucy Ngwari for lack of merit.
In the application, Dube argued that the allegation by the State did not disclose an offence.
“The accused was not privy to the agreement between Malvern Chimutashu and Blessmore Chanakira,” said Adv Mpofu. “The accused never acted outside the confines of his employment.
“The accused was not part to the procurement of gold by Vernmal Investment Company. The investigations of fraud were never disturbed; instead, investigations could be much easier.”
Ms Ngwari postponed the matter to December 14 for trial.
Prosecutor Mr Ephraim Zinyandu alleged that on June 13 this year, Chimutashu misrepresented to Chanakira that he had 225 000 litres of diesel valued at $234 000. Chimutashu purported to be representing Vernmal Investments and said the fuel was in Msasa, Harare.
It is alleged that Chanakira paid the money into Vernmal’s bank account after which Chimutashu took $183 000 of the money and paid for gold at Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
After discovering that he was duped, Chanakira demanded his money back, but Chimutashu advised him that he had already purchased some gold.
The court heard that Chimutashu wrote a letter instructing Fidelity Printers and Refiners to reverse the transaction.
The letter was delivered to Dube in the presence of Chanakira.
On June 14, it is alleged that Chanakira reported the matter to the police and Assistant Inspector Mudzimukunze made a phone call to Dube advising him to stop the transaction pending investigations. It is alleged that Dube agreed to temporarily stop the transaction until the police presented a warrant of search and seizure from the court.
Two-and-a-half hours later, Sergeant Chiwenga obtained the order and when he arrived at Fidelity Printers and Refiners, he was advised that the transaction was approved and had already sailed through.