Businessman Shongwe Michael Ndoro, initiated legal proceedings against his former co-director, Precious Star Ndoro, accusing her of fraud and money laundering.
The trial began in front of Harare Magistrate Taurai Manuwere, who presided over the case.
At the outset of the trial, changes were made as the state prosecutor requested amendments to the charge sheet.
The prosecutor aimed to consolidate 631 counts into one, while also renumbering money laundering as count two.
Before the trial commenced, a local publication had the opportunity to interview Shongwe Michael Ndoro, who serves as the managing director of Interfruit Pvt Ltd, where the alleged fraud occurred.
Ndoro stated that he had repeatedly requested a disbursement account from the accused over several years, but she refused to comply.
Consequently, he felt compelled to file charges of theft of trust property and money laundering.
According to Ndoro, an analysis of the company’s accounts revealed that nearly US$2.3 million had been transferred from the company account to the accused’s account.
None of these transactions appeared to be for legitimate business expenses; instead, they were for the accused’s personal benefit.
Ndoro emphasized that his actions were purely motivated by the desire to recover assets belonging to his family trust, for which he was the donor, founder, and beneficiary.
The matter had been reported in April 2019, and a forensic audit was completed before proceeding with legal action.
During the trial, Ndoro took the witness stand for cross-examination by the state prosecutor. He asserted that the accused had misappropriated working capital funds from the trust between 2014 and December 2018 through unauthorized transactions from the company account.
These funds were meant to pay creditors and directors, and the magnitude of the withdrawals was inconsistent with the company’s wages.
The missing records of these transactions only came to light in November 2018, when Ndoro discovered substantial sums had been transferred to the accused’s account.
In response, the accused’s lawyer claimed that Precious Star Ndoro had not received any trust funds from the complainant.
The lawyer argued that she had managed the farm while Shongwe Michael Ndoro handled the business and numerous transactions, which is why no complaints had been raised earlier.
The cross-examination by the accused’s lawyer was postponed to February 10, 2023, due to time constraints during the initial proceedings.