THE director of top restaurant, Queen of Hearts, Cairns Ryan Michael, lost US$47 000 to a suspected fraudster who hoodwinked him into investing into her non-existent business venture.

The suspect, Tadiwanashe Machingaidze 23, was not asked to plead when she appeared in court on Saturday.

The court heard that earlier this month, Machingaidze came up with a plan to dupe Michael and approached him claiming she was a co-director and 20% shareholder of Tech Global (Pvt) Ltd, a reputable tender-winning company.

She claimed she won a tender to supply special drill bits to Shamva Gold Mine but she did not have capital to fund the project.

Machingaidze allegedly produced a fake purchase order, purportedly raised by Shamva Gold Mine to Tech Global, ordering 250 Bierhals Drill Bits at US$86 000. 

She provided a pro forma invoice purportedly raised by a South African mining equipment supplier named Kori Engineering quoting the Drill Bits at US$47 000.

Michael became interested in the transaction and transferred a total of US$47 000 into a First National Bank account provided on the pro forma invoice. 

Machingaidze allegedly showed Michael some screen shots of emails and Whatsapp chats purportedly from Kori Engineering, acknowledging receiving the funds, and making the delivery arrangements. 

She also provided screen shots of her communication with the Shamva Gold Mine ‘procurement officers’ identified as Richard Hamadziripi and Chengetal Nyagweta.

Michael made arrangements and managed to have the drill bits shipped from South Africa to Harare through a courier company.

On July 25, the two drove to Shamva Gold Mine with the consignment of 250 Drill Bits intending to supply the mine.

On the way to Shamva, Machingaidze was communicating with the ‘procurement officers’ and was being given directions.

Upon arrival, they parked outside, waiting for the ‘procurement officers who were no longer answering their phones. 

Michael approached Mthulisi Mlopo, who is the Chief Stores Controller at Shamva Gold Mine, and advised him of the purpose of their visit to the mine. 

Mlopo advised him that there were no employees by the names Richard Hamadziripi and Chengetal Nyagweta at the mine.

He was also told the mine never ordered Drill Bits from Tech Global and the transaction was fake.

Mlopo had a sight of the Drill Bits and advised him that they were sub-standard and they could only be sold at a maximum price of US$5 each.

Micheal then approached Philip Mudumi, the director of Tech Global (Pvt) Ltd, who disowned the purported procurement contract and indicated that Machingaidze was neither a director, shareholder or employee at the company. 

Micheal found out that he had been defrauded and he made efforts to recover his money from Machingaidze, which was all in vain, and filed a police report.

state media