Businessman starts company with USD$40k worth of ‘stolen’ equipment

A controversial Harare businessman has been dragged before the High Court for allegedly starting a business with equipment he had acquired from a potential business partner before disappearing to start his own company. 

Tendai Chaponda will also face criminal charges after his would have been business partner Karen Bernadine Culfear pressed charges against him while she awaits for a Rei vindicatio order to be granted in her favor by the Higher court in a bid to recover her equipment worth over USD$40 000.

A Rei vindicatio is a legal action by which the plaintiff demands that the defendant return things that belongs to the plaintiff. It may be used only when plaintiff owns the thing, and the defendant is somehow impeding the plaintiff’s possession of the thing. 

According to court papers submitted to the High Court, Culfear met Tendai Chaponda in person in Harare in 2018 and they had discussions to the effect that she would purchase all business equipment after an agreement to start a company. 

The two allegedly went to China to help each other to identify the said equipment, with Culfear meeting all the costs.

Upon arrival in China, Culfear paid  US$34 790 for the equipment and on November 5 when the consignment arrived in Zimbabwe she paid another USD$11 000 for duty through Chaponda as she transferred the amount into his account.

After the equipment was safely in the country, Chaponda became evasive. 

Chaponda went on to open a company, Ominal enterprises  which he is currently running and has been cited as the second respondent in the matter pending before a High Court judge. 

Chaponda failed to give Culfear an audience or to return her property prompting her to approach the courts for legal assistance. 

She went on to press criminal charges against him and he will appear before a Harare magistrate on June 5. 

The same Chaponda is believed to have been named in the Dynamos Jersey theft scandal of 2015. 

Reports point to that he was dragged to court in 2016 by the MDC-T legislator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga who was struggling to recover her vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee from him.