US$480K saga: Con-artist denied bail

A HARARE woman, Eustine Charambira, who allegedly used president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name to swindle a local businessman of over US$480 000 in a botched mining deal, has been denied bail after the court ruled that there was overwhelming evidence against her.

The court further ruled yesterday that Charambira, who is facing fraud allegations, was not suitable to be released on bail because she was likely to flee.

This is despite her lawyer’s last minute attempt to save her from remaining in jail by arguing that on the first day she went to court, she was coming from home.

The State trashed the attempt as an afterthought, resulting in Charambira being remanded in custody to August 11.

Allegations against Charambira are that in October last year, Charambira was approached by the complainant Erasmus Chimbumu, who wanted to buy mining chemicals after he was referred to the woman by one of his suppliers, Ragu Sivaragas.  

Charambira allegedly told the complainant that she has a company which buys mining chemicals from the United Kingdom and ships them to Durban, South Africa where they would collect them before importing to Zimbabwe.  

Chimbumu allegedly told Charambira that he only had local currency to pay for the mining chemicals but she insisted that the deal would only sail through if he paid in United States dollars or South African rand.  

Allegations are that the following day, Charambira called the complainant and told him that he can send the local currency to her various suppliers so that she can get forex using the black market rate.  

Chimbumu allegedly complied and between October and December last year, he sent money into various accounts of Charambira’s suppliers.  

According to the agreement, the complainant was supposed to receive his mining chemicals in January this year.  

At the end of January, Chimbumu inquired about the chemicals from Charambira and she claimed the money was stolen and that she had reported the case at Borrowdale Police Station.    

Charambira allegedly claimed she had not told the complainant because the person, who stole the money, had agreed to return it by April.  

It is further alleged that the complainant asked Charambira about his chemicals and she said she had not received her money from the person who stole from her, but was expecting US$1 million from an investor from the United Kingdom and that the deal involved Mnangagwa and army generals.  

She allegedly demanded US$100 000 from the complainant to hire a private jet from the UK to Zimbabwe so that she could reimburse the complainant of his money.  

The complainant reportedly sent US$50 000 to Charambira through Sivaragas before it was established that there was no investor, who had been brought to Zimbabwe.