A 44-year-old Chitungwiza man, who on two occasions allegedly duped a supermarket after masquerading as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) official, and used fake documents to buy groceries on credit, yesterday appeared before Marondera magistrate Ignatius Mhene facing two counts of fraud.
Avias Padera pleaded not guilty to the charges of defrauding Mega Market Company in Mutare of groceries worth $20 000 after he masqueraded as an official of a Mt Darwin-based NGO, Feed The Children.
He was remanded in custody to next week for continuation of trial.
According to court papers, sometime in March this year, Padera allegedly called the supermarket’s manager Dian Saurombe using a fraudulently registered Econet line and introduced himself as an official from Feed The Children based in Mt Darwin.
He allegedly later emailed a purchase requisition to the complainant.
Padera allegedly misinformed Saurombe that they were buying the groceries as a donation to Fairfield Chidren’s Home in Mutare and that they would settle their bill after taking delivery of the goods.
Saurombe prepared the order as Padera allegedly called Cecilia Thobani, an administrator at Fairfield Children’s Home, telling her that their orphanage had been selected as a recipient of the donation.
On March 27, Padera allegedly requested that Saurombe delivers the groceries to Fairfield Children’s Home.
On the same day, the accused allegedly called Thobani and informed her that the groceries were on their way.
Padera then went to the children’s home where he introduced himself as Brian Joho from Feed The Children and claimed that he had come to collect some of the groceries to be handed over to another orphanage.
Padera then collected some groceries using a hired truck.
Using the same modus operandi, Padera allegedly contacted Saurombe again and ordered her to send his driver to Marondera with another truckload of groceries to be donated to Musha Wevana Orphanage. The goods were allegedly delivered and offloaded at a warehouse in the town’s industrial area.
The matter came to light after Saurombe tried to make a follow-up on payment and she discovered that she had been duped. She also established that the accused had temporarily hired the Marondera warehouse.
Saurombe reported the matter to police on May 9, leading to Padera’s arrest and recovery of some of the stolen groceries at his Harare home.
The value of groceries not recovered is $19 587,65.
Lovemore Musariyarwa represented the State.
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