Bulawayo man loses US$335k to friend

Inspector Abednico Ncube

Trust a friend but to a certain extent!

Duplesis Juan Pierre (51) of Hillside suburb in Bulawayo will live to regret after his friend betrayed his trust and allegedly disappeared with US$335 000 he gave him to buy mining equipment.

A source said sometime in July last year the unsuspecting Pierre asked his friend Lyle Smith to come to his place to advise him about mining as he wanted to venture into the business.

Pierre and Smith, the source said, held a lengthy discussion about the said business deal.

The source went on to say: “After the long discussion Smith promised the unsuspecting Pierre to bring him a quotation of the mining equipment that he (Pierre) would need to start the mining business. After three days he brought a quotation of US $335 000.”

Being eager to venture into mining business Pierre promised to raise the money and by 19 October last year he had raised it. He gave him the money and he never thought that Smith would disappear with his money.

“On 19 October Pierre gave Smith US$335 000 cash for the purchase of mining equipment. To his surprise Smith never returned on that particular day. Pierre got worried and phoned him, to his shock his (Smith)’s cellphone number went straight to voicemail. Several attempts yielded no result,” said the source close to investigations.

He tried to track him down, but all his efforts were fruitless. He finally reported the matter at Hillside police station last week on Friday.

Efforts to get a comment from Pierre were fruitless as his mobile number was not reachable.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident:

“I can confirm that we are investigating a case of fraud where a 51-year-old man was defrauded of US$335 000 by his friend which he had given him to buy him mining equipment.

“The suspect Lyle Smith is still at large. We are appealing for information that might lead to his arrest, anyone with information must not hesitate to contact any nearest police station,” said.

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