Mine director blows $200k investor funds

Harare Bureau
The battle for control of Acquirium Trading (Pvt) Ltd, a gold mining firm in Gweru has deepened after a Lebanese man accused of misappropriating $200,000 in a mining deal, was last week barred by the court from visiting the mine. Taleb Mohamad (51), who is director of Acquirium Trading (Pvt) Ltd, appeared before Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe facing theft of trust property charges.

Mahwe barred Mohamad from visiting the mine after prosecutor Ms Sharon Mashavira, made an application for an addition of another bail condition amidst allegations that Mohamad was interfering with State witness at the mine.

Represented by his lawyer Aleck Muchadehama, Mohamad opposed the application saying he had not interfered with State witnesses or investigations.
“The current recognised shareholders are myself (Mohamad) with 60 per cent and Sandra van Rooyen who has 40 per cent. The share certificates of the complainants were declared null and void after they failed to meet the required conditions.

“A loan advancement of $400,000 by the complainants was meant to develop a mine called Malaya.
“$619,390 paid by the complainants towards the purchase of shares was later converted into a loan following failure of the share sale and $2,750,000 by the complainants was a mixture of loan, cash injections and pledges meant to strengthen the company,” he said.

Mohamad added that he was forced to leave his desk as chief executive officer of the company by armed people and do not recognise his suspension.
Muchadehama gave notice to apply for refusal of further remand on the next remand date.

The complainant in the matter is Tamira Overseas SA, which holds a 48 percent stake in Acquirium Trading (Pvt) Ltd.
Tamira Overseas is represented by Heena Jayant Joshi, a shareholder in True Brethren (Pvt) Ltd, which also holds a 3 percent stake in Acquirium.

The court heard that Tamira Overseas SA and True Brethren have a total of 51 percent shareholding, making them the major shareholders in Acquirium.
Mashavira alleged that sometime in April 2012 Joshi met Mohamad and a Russian, Nocolay Verenko, who is also a partner in Tamira Overseas SA.

It is alleged that Joshi later made contact with Mohamad with the intention of investing in the mining business. In July the same year Joshi met Mohamad to verify the existence of mining claims in Gweru.

It is alleged that Joshi engaged a metallurgist, Magofa Gwizo, to access the mining claims and offices.
Satisfied with the developments, Joshi allegedly flew into the country on September 2, 2012 and entered into a joint venture agreement at a meeting held at Jacana Lodge in Harare.

Joshi offered to fund mining operation with a loan of $400,000 under an agreement and the money was released over three months from October to December 2012.
In January 2013, Joshi offered to buy out Mohamad and his co-director, Rooyen, but the parties instead agreed on a new shareholding structure.

Tamira Overseas was to get 48 percent, True Brethren three, Rooyen 37 and Mohamad 12 percent of the shareholding.
Following the new structure Joshi paid off all liabilities including a Kingdom Bank loan of $619,390.

The court heard that between April 2013 and June this year Joshi injected $2.75 million into Acquirium Trading (Pvt) Ltd through African Banking Corporation’s bank account number 10008873902025 from Tumira Overseas.

It is alleged that Mohamad remained the sole signatory of the bank account making Joshi suspicious in the manner business was being run.
An internal audit revealed that Mohamad misappropriated $265,958 and nothing was recovered.

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