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Byo businessman acquitted of US$1.4million fraud

A Bulawayo businessman, who was implicated in a botched property deal worth US$1.4million has been acquitted by a Harare court, Monday. 

Ismail Moosa Lunat (57), who was facing allegations of defrauding Zachariya Patel of Toppers Uniforms Pvt Ltd, was set free after the court ruled that there was no evidence linking him to the alleged offence. 

Lunat, who was being co-accused with Mohammed Iqbal Lunat and Converging Investments Pvt Ltd represented by (Hosea Mkhwananzi) was being represented by Nqobani Sithole of Ncube and Partners. 

State allegations against the three are that in August 2018, they purported to sell property belonging to Converging Investments Pvt Ltd to Patel for US$1.4million. 

The court heard that Patel paid for the property but the accused persons did not meet their end of the bargain. 

Harare magistrate Morgan Nemandire acquitted Lunat and his co-accused after a full trial. 

The magistrate said State witnesses failed to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that indeed he had been defrauded. 

“The agreement of sale which was produced as an exhibit before this court bore no names of witnesses to the alleged deal that was signed between the involved parties. It boggles this court that such a businessman like the complainant (Patel), would buy property like he is buying a bag of dagga illegally without proper documentation,” said Magistrate Nemandire. 

“Furthermore there is no trace of records that Patel at any point had money amounting to US$1.4million. His testimonies were inconsistent thereby making his story hard to believe. There is no evidence of where he got the money. First he said it was from his savings, then he said he got a loan from FMC financial institution then further said he collected money from people owing him. 

“There isn’t any proof of receipt of the alleged amount either. At the end of the day we don’t know which explanation is true. This leaves the court with the impression that the defence given by the accused person that the two had a foreign currency deal which went wrong more believable.”

State representative, George Manokore alleged that the three acted in common purpose to defraud Toppers Uniforms Pvt Ltd being represented by Mohammed Zachariya Patel of US$1.4million. 

“The accused persons acted in common purpose and misrepresented the sale of property belonging to Converging Investments Pvt Ltd, sub-division A stand 448 in Bulawayo, measuring 972 square meters. As a result, Toppers Uniforms Pvt Ltd paid the stated amount but never got ownership,” Manokore said. 

Lunat was recently acquitted by a Bulawayo court on fraud charges against the same complainant (Patel) involving US$2.7million. 

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