LOCAL NEWS

MA Auto Supplies director ‘Michael Smith’ charged with fraud

MA Auto Supplies director, Michael Smith, has appeared in court charged with fraud and corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal in excess of US$11 000 and over R124 000.

Smith was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare Magistrate Denis Mangosi, who gave him $100 000 bail.

He is expected back in court on February 17.

It is the State’s case that sometime in October 2019, a fellow director, who is the complainant, left for Australia and failed to return due to Covid-19 restrictions until September this year.

When he returned, he discovered that the company was paying its South African suppliers through a third party, called Mant Procurement [Pvt) Ltd.

It is a South Africa-registered company co-owned by Smith and his South Africa-based friend, Tony Oatley.

Smith had not disclosed this arrangement to his principal, the complainant.

MA Auto Supplies later discovered that Mant Procurement was overcharging the company and as a result they suffered prejudice in excess of R100 000.

In February, Smith allegedly imported two tents using MA Auto Suppliers (Pvt) Ltd’s resources under the pretence that the tents belonged to the company.

He allegedly sold the tents to Ms Horsley for US$1 800 before converting the cash to his own use.

In October, Smith allegedly used the same modus operandi to import a Station Wagon Rear Bumper and RHS Carrier and the customer paid R24 259.83 directly into Mant Procurement (Pvt) Ltd’s FNB account.

On another occasion, Smith was authorised by the complainant to sell their Toyota Land Cruiser to his son for US$7 500.

Smith allegedly released the vehicle after receiving only US$2 000.

As a result, the company suffered prejudice to the sum of US$5 500.

It also alleged that Smith attempted to sell three tool boxes to MA Auto Supplies when they already belonged to the company.

The attempt exposed the company to a prejudice of US$3 300.

As a result of Smith’s fraudulent acts, the company suffered prejudice of approximately US$9 210 and R124 259.

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