Thandeka Moyo Court Reporter
AN Indian investor was swindled of $72,600 by two fraudsters in a nightclub deal, a court heard.
Uathalil Sasi Sanandhraj arrived in Zimbabwe on November 17 last year intent on establishing a nightclub business with Norman Kaziva, 46.
But prosecutors say Kaziva conspired with Simbarashe Mutsvanga, 32, a former immigration officer, to set Sanandhraj up for deportation by affixing a fake visa in his passport which would have seen him deported and lose out on his investment.
Kaziva and Mutsvanga on Tuesday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Marylene Muchina charged with fraud.
They both pleaded not guilty. Muchina remanded them out of custody to April 11 on $200 bail each.
Sanandhraj, the court heard, met Kaziva at his place of work at Cattleman Restaurant last year and the two men discussed starting a business together. Sanandhraj tasked Kaziva to register their company as he would be one of the directors with 20 percent shares, said Denmore Kasenza, prosecuting.
But the court heard Kaziva drew up fake documents citing himself and Sanandhraj as directors. Kaziva, it is further alleged, forged a lease agreement between himself and the owner of Cloud 9 Nite Club leaving out Sanandhraj, thereby exposing the Indian businessman to a potential prejudice of $70,000 being investment in renovating the nightclub and buying stock.
Kasenza said when Sanandhraj advised Kaziva that his visa was about to expire, the latter led Sanandhraj to Mutsvanga, who masqueraded as an immigration officer and took Sanandhraj’s passport.
He returned the passport with a new visa which extended Sanandhraj’s stay to December 21. The dates on the visa were clumsily altered, leading Sanandhraj to suspect it was fake.
Sanandhraj, who later called the police, would have been arrested, deported and banned from the country upon presenting a passport with a fake visa at any immigration point of exit — leaving Kaziva and Mutsvanga to take over his business.