Lesleigh Chidawanyika, Court Reporter
TOP Harare businessman Andrea Pierre Hoffman who is facing fraud charges involving US$765 000 has applied for refusal for further remand.
His lawyer Rungano Mahuni said his client should be removed from remand since the State has showed no signs of progress in the matter.
“No progress has been made in this matter, the State is failing to furnish us with a trial date and it is clear that the docket is not here at all.
“The last time we appeared in this court the State promised to give us a trial date and now we are here today it is saying it needs more time to put their house in order.
“The State is trying to punish the accused person because of the charges he facing, your worship the accused is facing fraud charges and he was arrested while trying to take money from point A to B illegally,” said Mahuni.
Mahuni added that the State should respect the principle of justice since Hoffman’s co-accused were last week removed from remand.
“The co- accused were removed after the State had conceded that it had made no progress to trial him.
“My client deserve to be treated equally and the concept of justice needs to be implemented your worship.
“My client is failing to execute his business duties properly because much of his time is lost while reporting to court and police.
“The State will suffer no prejudice if it removes the accused on remand and it will be quite interesting to proceed by way of summons,” Mahuni said.
Harare provincial magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa will make a ruling on January 23.
It is the State’s case that on October 28 Shingirai Muringi who is Hoffman accomplice approached Henry Abraham and told him that he was looking for US dollars.
Abraham, the State alleged did not have enough foreign currency and mobilised other dealers namely Charles Nyamunda, Codwell Muhoni, Wisdom Hodzi, Rodney Makarutsa, Tinashe Kadzunge, Benard Nyangoni and Nyevero Chibisa.
Muringi then took the foreign currency dealers to a house in Avondale where they were introduced to Hoffman who advised them that his principal, Kazi wanted US$765 000.
Hoffman allegedly indicated to them that Kazi would transfer $17 212 500 into their bank accounts.
Abraham contributed US$349 000, Nyamunda US$28 000, Muhoni US$100 000, Hodzi US$51 000, Makarutsa US$35 000, Nyangoni US$50 000 while Chibisa contributed US$87 000.
The money is said to have been handed over to Kazi who later sent fraudulent proof of payments to the dealers.
Upon realising that the money was not reflecting in their accounts, the complainants made inquiries with their banks and discovered that the transfers were made from an unfunded account.
They failed to recover the money which prompted them to lodge a complainant with the police.