Jailed ZANU PF Linked Businessman Who Swindled Singapore Investor Of US$500k Investment Denied Bail Pending Appeal
13 June 2020
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Fradreck Utsiwegota

Jailed Bindura man, Fradreck Utsiwegota, who is serving a seven-year jail term for duping an investor of mining equipment worth US$500 000 was yesterday denied bail pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence at the High Court.

Bindura provincial magistrate Mr Tinashe Ndokera ruled that there were no prospects of success in the appeal.

He said his sentence was based on the nature of the offence, quantity of goods stolen and the effect to investment and not the monetary value.

“There was no persuasive offer for restitution therefore there was no need to consider it for sentencing,” he said.

“There are no prospects of success on appeal, application for bail pending appeal is dismissed.”

In his application, Utsiwegota said the sentence induced a sense of shock and on appeal another court might come up with a different ruling.

His grounds of appeal are that there was no complainant in the matter as the first State witness Ramason Bupendra had no authority to represent the company without a resolution.

Utsiwegota also says evidence led during trial failed to establish essential elements of the offence and there was no evidence that he disposed of the property.

Utsiwegota (38) was convicted of theft of trust property charges after swindling a Singapore investor, Bupendra.

Prosecuting, Mr Garudzo Ziyaduma said on July 5, 2012 Utsiwegota and Bupendra registered Decade Mining (Pvt) Limited and both became directors.

Bupendra was the sole financier in the company and 51 percent shares were awarded to Utsiwegota to comply with the Indigenisation law. In July 2013, Bupendra left the country for Singapore and left Utsiwegota in charge of the company assets and day-to-day running of the business.

Utsiwegota advised him against coming back saying the political situation was not conducive for foreigners before disposing of company machinery worth US$500 000.

He sold 20 000 tonnes of gold dump with neither board resolution, nor consent.

Bupendra returned to Zimbabwe in June last year without Utsiwegota’s knowledge and realised that the company had ceased operations and its assets were missing.

In his defence, Utsiwegota — a divorced father of five children — said the company operated without a board meeting since 2013 and he was acting in its best interest when he committed the offence.