Toyota Hilux

Residents lose cars to bogus CEO

Nhlalwenhle Ncube
A Zvishavane man swindled cars from unsuspecting motorists masquerading as the chief executive officer (CEO) of a Non-Governmental Organisation in need of cars to hire.

Obadiah Mutore (45), also known as Obry Sithole, conned owners of a Toyota Hilux and two Mercedes Benz sedans pretending to be hiring them on behalf of Hope Foundation Ministries. The sweetener to the deal was thatA� the NGO would pay the car owners $3 900 a month.

He, however, went for months without paying the car owners who decided to investigate the issue, leading to his arrest.

Mutore was hauled before Zvishavane magistrate Shepherd Mjanja facing fraud charges and he pleaded not guilty saying he was test driving the cars.

The court heard that on 5 April, Mutore approached Moses Tafireyi (45) and introduced himself as Obry Sithole, the CEO of Hope Foundation Ministries.

He then told the complainant that his organisation was looking for vehicles to hire and for each car they were going to pay $3 900 a month.

The unsuspecting complainant fell for the deal and on 6 April he surrendered his Toyota Hilux and Mercedes Benz to the accused and they agreed that on the 25th of each month he would get his payment.

Mutore never paid and always came up with excuses saying he was waiting for the money from abroad.

The complainant finally realised that something was amiss and decided to make a police report only to discover that he had been duped as there were other people making reports against Mutore.

Esau Dube (78) was also duped of his Mercedes Benz by the accused who approached him on 13 April saying he was looking for a vehicle to buy.

Mutore, using the same statement of claiming to be the CEO of Hope Foundation Ministries claimed that the organisation was looking for a car to buy and he was interested in his Mercedes Benz.

Dube told him that he wanted $8 000 for the vehicle, but Mutore offered $12 000 and the complainant fell for his game giving him the vehicle at zero percent deposit.

He promised to pay the amount within two weeks, but failed and always came up with excuses, forcing Dube to report the matter to the police.

Mutore was arrested by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department who later discovered that he was using a fake identity.

He was remanded in custody to 17 July pending further investigations.