TWO fake gold dealers were yesterday sentenced to three years’ imprisonment each after being convicted of duping a business man of US$45 000.
The two, Stephen Mhumbwe and Louis Mudzongo, had been arraigned before Harare magistrate Judith Taruvinga.
They will, however, serve an effective jail term of one year each after Taruvinga suspended one year on each of them on condition that they do not commit a similar offence and another year on condition that they restitute the complainant of US$22 500 each by March 30.
The suspects were initially three when they appeared in court. However one of them, Mike Tafira, was acquitted after Taruvinga ruled that the evidence that had been led in court did not link him to the offence.
Prosecutor Heather Mhlanga-Muokoto told the court that sometime in September 2020, the duo hatched a plan to steal from a registered gold buyer, Terrence Mashiri, by selling him fake gold.
According to the State, Mudzongo was reportedly approached by Tafira who told him that some people in Ngezi, Mhondoro, were looking for a licensed gold buyer.
Mudzongo allegedly engaged Mhumbwe to look for a buyer after which he approached the complainant that he had a brother (Mudzongo) who was selling gold.
Mashiri reportedly got interested in the deal, but was told by Mhumbwe he did not have the gold on him. He said it was with one Mashonganyika.
The court further heard that Mhumbwe then accompanied Mashiri to meet Mashonganyika who was in the company of Aishley Muza.
When Mhumbwe was asked by the complainant to produce their gold selling permit, he reportedly claimed that he and his accomplices had forgotten it at their offices.
Convinced by their response, Mashiri paid US$45 000 cash to Mhumbwe and he was given the fake gold ore.
It was after he processed the gold in Harare that Mashiri discovered that he had been duped.