Mike Harris Toyota duped of US$2m

Zvikomborero Parafini

A sales manager at Mike Harris Toyota Private Limited has been accused of defrauding the company of US$2 million.

Shakeman Ben (51) faces charges of money laundering and fraud, related to his alleged creation of fake invoices, altering of records and use of third-party payments to purchase motor vehicles in Dubai rather than from the firm itself.

Ben is also accused of buying assets, including a Ford Ranger Wild Trek, with the proceeds of crime. The offences were allegedly committed between December 2019 and September 2020.

Ben was released on US$500 bail when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa for fraud and money laundering.

He was ordered to surrender his travel documents and title deeds.

It was alleged that Ben received cash payments and invoiced the company’s customers with doctored invoices with the company letterhead.

He did neither surrendered money received from customers nor enter the transactions in the system, but went on to procure the vehicles from African Mobile Solutions [AMS], Dubai, UAE, using third party payments on the pretext that it was Mike Harris Toyota buying the vehicles.

Ben allegedly procured several vehicles using the Mike Harris Toyota dealership, resulting in deductions from the company’s bank account.

When the company tried to purchase vehicles from AMS, it was informed that its bank account used for purchasing vehicles was in arrears.

They then checked the transactions and found that 27 vehicles they were not aware of were bought using their dealership and bank account.

They called in auditors who unearthed the offence and reported to the police.

In the second count, Ben allegedly received US$1 710 767 from vehicle buyers, and he issued them fraudulent receipts on Aitocs Motors letterheads.

He allegedly acted as a super user as he originated, executed and closed the transactions on his own.

He allegedly bought himself a Ford Ranger Wild Trek and other assets.

Pardon Dziva appeared for the State.

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