HARARE fraudster, Gift Chaapo Madhlayo, who defrauded local bus company Megalink (Private) Ltd of $177 000 in a botched bus import deal was yesterday sentenced to four years imprisonment by regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Madhlayo (44) will however serve an effective jail term of 18 months after the other 18 months were suspended on condition that he pays restitution on or before April 30 next year while another 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Madhlayo was convicted together with his company GM Financial Services which was fined $2 000, failing which its properties would be attached.
In passing sentence, Mupeiwa said deterrent custodial sentences were ideal as they helped in taming the increase in white collar crimes.
Madhlayo was convicted last week and was given an opportunity to negotiate the terms of payment with the complainant where he initially offered his house but later reneged on his pledge.
Allegations were that sometime in 2015, Madhlayo approached the bus firm and misrepresented that he was an agent for an Israeli company, Polo Trade Finance, and indicated that he had the capacity to source funding and loans of up to $3,5 million to assist the complainant import Zhongtong buses from China.
The convict demanded and received an advance payment of $177 000 as facilitation and commitment fees.
The court was told that due to Madhlayo’s misrepresentation, the complainant, through his supplier Zhongtong Buses (Private) Ltd, started shipping arrangements anticipating that the letter of credit would go through.
On February 18 last year, Madhlayo supplied a forged credit note valued at $3 582 500, which he claimed came from Polo Trade Finance.
The complainant allegedly in turn mailed the concocted letter of credit to his bus supplier in China, who discovered that the copy was fake and not funded.
The court heard that Zhongtong also discovered the finance firm did not exist at the said address. The complainant then engaged Madhlayo who became evasive and relocated from his known address, prompting the complainant to report the matter.
Constance Ngombengombe appeared for the State.