Harare man charged with USD$200K fraud over non-existent business deal


HARARE – A Harare man, Steven John Bass, has been charged with fraud and money laundering after he allegedly misrepresented to a potential investor that they would invest in a company meant to supply goods to TM Pick n Pay supermarkets in Zimbabwe.

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The accused appeared before Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa. The State was represented by prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti. The accused was released on bail and is expected to appear in court again on July 16, 2024.

According to the allegations, in December 2021, the accused approached the complainant, Nicola Ruth Dickinson, with a business proposal to import goods from South Africa to Zimbabwe for resale to Pick n Pay Supermarkets Zimbabwe. 

The accused allegedly misrepresented that he had orders but lacked the capital to fulfill them on his own.

Both the accused and the complainant agreed that the complainant would invest $200,000 and the accused would invest $300,000 to start the company. 

The accused told the complainant that he would register the company, Wireline Investment, and open an FBC bank account for the investment and business transactions.

After the company was registered and the corporate account was opened, the accused reportedly received $200,000 from the complainant, which was to be deposited into the bank account. 

However, when the complainant followed up on whether the accused had deposited the money and his own $300,000, the accused became evasive. 

The complainant then visited the bank and found that there were no business transactions and the $500,000 capital amount was never deposited.

The complainant filed a report, leading to the arrest of the accused. The complainant suffered a financial loss of $200,000, and nothing was recovered.

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