Businessman Luka Ignatius Fabris Faces Fraud Charges

By Judith Nyuke

Businessman Luka Ignatius Fabris has been brought before the court on charges of fraud, stemming from an unsuccessful investment agreement with Lee Anne Patricia Rudland in 2019.

Fabris appeared before Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka charged with fraud. The matter was rolled over to 1 March for trial continuation.

The first accused in this case is Spartan Security [Pvt] Limited being represented by Luka Ignatius Fabris.

The second accused in this case is Luka Ignatius Fabris who is being charged in his personal capacity as one of the directors of Spartan Security and as the one lured the complainant to invest in the company’s business.

The State represented by Anesu Chirenje alleges that sometime in 2019, Fabris approached Rudland and told her that they were running cattle ranching business which was very profitable.

Fabris acting on behalf of Spartan Security lured Rudland to invest into the business and promised her that she would get two percent of her total investment every month.

It is further alleged that Rudland got interested and agreed to invest.

Rudland who had her money banked with her lawyers Coelne Welsh and Guest’s trust account instructed her lawyers to transfer some money into accused’s bank account.

Further allegations are that on 21 March 2019 Rudland’s lawyers transferred the sum of ZWL$ 4 800 000-00 from their Standard Chartered Bank account number into CBZ bank account number belonging to Spartan Security.

The two reportedly agreed that the money was equivalent to USD$ 1 000 000-00 at the prevailing bank rate of that period.

After Rudland had made her investment she only received the sum of USD$ 540 000-00 and thereafter Fabris stopped to give her her dues and started giving her unnecessary excuses.

It is the State’s case that Rudland made several efforts to engage Fabris but he became evasive.

Rudland realized that she had been duped and made a report.

Responding to the allegations, Fabris pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

He denied ever entering into the nature of transaction or agreement as alleged by Rudland.

He said Rudland made an arrangement with Spartan Security wherein she would transfer ZWL 4 800 000-00 into the 1st Accused’s account held at CBZ Limited in exchange for cash in ZWL$ currency at a fee of 1% (1 per cent)

He added that he is only one of four directors and acted for Spartan Security with the blessings of the full board of directors and can not be held personally liable for a transaction that was consummated with the full knowledge and authorization of the whole board.

He also said Rudland collected all her cash in ZWL$ from the Spartan Security’s offices and has been paid in full all her dues.

Fabris said Rudland had to collect her cash in batches per her instructions and by the time she collected the last batch of cash, her money had lost value due to inflation and she started to demand compensation for the inflation inflicted loss, which directors of Spartan Security declined.

He also added that Spartan Security never agreed in principle or otherwise to settle Rudland ZWL$4 800 000-00 in United States Dollars as alleged and never paid any amount in United States dollars as alleged as this would amount to an illegal foreign currency trade transaction.

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