Crime & Courts

Boastful Wadyajena wants fraud charges dropped

Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena yesterday indicated that he will next week file an application for refusal of further remand on the matter he is jointly charged with Cotton Company of Zimbabwe bosses where they allegedly misappropriated US$5 834 000 meant for importing bale ties.

Through his lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, Wadyajena indicated that he will file his application on September 13.

The State led by Mr Tonderai Dzivakwi indicated that they will respond to the application on September 19 before Harare regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere makes a ruling on September 21.

Wadyajena, suspended Cottco CEO Pious Manamike, suspended Cottco marketing manager Maxmore Njanji and Fortunate Molai of Cottco are being charged with fraud and money laundering.

Mr Manwere also temporarily released Njanji’s passport until September 30 after he requested it back saying he wanted to travel outside the country.

Allegations against Wadyajena and the Cottco bosses are that in January 2019 they allegedly opened a shelf company called Pierpont Moncroix Zimbabwe, similar in name to a Mauritian company. Cottco raised an internal requisition stores voucher in March that year for the supply of 3 200 000 92-inch special high carbon bale ties for the 2019 ginning season with Manamike and Njanji approving.

Molai allegedly prepared a comparative schedule of four potential suppliers of the bale ties with Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius recommended by Molai despite being the most expensive.

But very shortly Giant Equipment LLC from United States of America seemed to have taken over the order and Molai advised that payment was now to be made to Giant Equipment LLC, USA, and this was done with Manamike authorising payment of US$1 896 000 as a 75 percent down payment.

Other payments were made for a total of $3 414 000 approved by Manamike and Njanji and while imports are supposed to be acquitted within 90 days of payment, that is proof given that the goods paid for are now in Zimbabwe, Cottco kept seeking extensions as nothing arrived.

Investigations established that no bale ties at all arrived for Giant Equipment and instead 22 Freightliner Horse trucks were delivered by Giant Equipment in 2019 and 2020 for Mayor Logistics (Pvt) Limited, a company owned by Wadyajena.

Giant Equipment does not specialise in the supply of bale ties, but is an American company that supplies trucks and earthmoving equipment. 

This was the part of the case that brought in Wadyajena and his company into the fraud allegedly organised by the three Cottco bosses.

So far the original down payment to Giant Equipment LLC USA has not been acquitted since it was made March 2019 and Cottco has been red-flagged by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, according to the State.

While the original order, supposedly for bale ties but apparently partly converted to trucks, was still in progress, the State said that the Cottco bosses approved a second purchase order to Giant Equipment of another US$1 106 000 in November 2019 although this was delayed nine months as Cottco had no money until it arranged a currency swop with a bureau de change for US$1 106 000.

In October last year Molai is said to have generated another email to Memory Chivanga, who was acting treasurer at Cottco, and attached a signed purchase order for bale ties to Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius for US$4 578 078,50. 

In her email, she allegedly requested that Cottco treasury advise on the payment of the deposit for the order which was US$2 500 000. No physical paperwork was received by Cottco Treasury office.

The Cottco Treasury was only able to raise US$750 000 as a deposit which was paid in November last year to Energy Park (Pvt) CBZ account on the instructions of Manamike and his accomplices and then in November US$363 900 of that payment was then transferred to Maropafadzo Energy and US$421 000 was transferred to Energy Park Bulk Fuels on November 24, 2021.

The court heard that investigations established that Energy Park (Pvt) Ltd is in the fuel industry and sells fuel in bulk and direct to retailers and does not supply or sell bale ties.

On March 8 and 14 this year two more payments were allegedly processed from Cottco for US$450 000 to Maropafadzo Energy’s bank account and US$1 000 000 to Maropafadzo Energy’s Ecobank account. 

This now meant that US$2 200 000 was paid against the order of US$4 578 078.

Payments to Maropafadzo Energy, being part of the order for bale ties were further transferred into various accounts of individuals and corporates, both local and international, for procurement of services which had absolutely nothing to do with the import of bail ties, the reason given in the records for the orders.

It is alleged that no bale ties were imported from Pierpont Mauritius (Pvt) Ltd and as a result Cottco was now prejudiced of a total of US$5 834 000 through the payments to Giant Equipment and the energy companies.

-HERALD

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