Schweppes clerks defraud company of $177 000

TWO Schweppes Zimbabwe, Mutare depot employees allegedly stole 28 000 cases of assorted Schweppes products worth $177 000.

Viceroy Moyo (34) and Piniel Ziwewe (45) were initially remanded in custody to July 31 when they appeared before Mutare magistrate, Mr Innocent Bepura last Friday. They are being charged with theft as charged in Section 113 (1) (a) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23. The two, who were employed as warehouse clerk and sales clerk were not asked to plead to the charges.

Mutare lawyer, Mr Peter Makombe represented Moyo, while Mrs Ndafa Muchanyara appeared for Ziwewe.

In his bail application, Mr Makombe stated that it was Moyo’s right to be granted bail since the Constitution states that one is innocent until proven guilty. He further stated that the State was opposing bail on frivolous grounds that the matter was a serious offence and the accused persons were a flight risk.

This was after the State had opposed bail citing the seriousness of the offence and how the pair is a flight risk. Bail was set at $300 each. They were however, ordered to keep residing at their given addresses, report twice weekly at their nearest police stations and not to interfere with State witnesses.

Public Prosecutor, Mr Fletcher Karombe, said on June 5, 2017, Schweppes Zimbabwe Mutare Depot’s finance manager, Mr Fred Matsika discovered that the direct store delivery warehouse stock location had accumulated  a balance of 14 779 cases.

By nature of the direct store delivery, a typical load allocated to salesmen does not exceed 608 cases as the load is limited to the carrying capacity of the delivery trucks. The department has only three delivery trucks and this prompted Mr Matsika to alert the sales manager, Mr Jesper Shewera.

“Upon asking for an explanation, Matsika failed to get a satisfactory answer from both Moyo and Ziwewe, prompting the company to assign auditors to carry out an audit. The audit revealed that the pair had stolen a total of 28 004 cases of various beverages which were in stock from the warehouse with a total value of $177 307, 76.

“The auditors also established that Ziwewe who was responsible for invoicing had on several occasions generated fictitious invoices purporting that various customers had purchased Schweppes products,” said Mr Karombe.

The court further heard that Moyo acted in connivance with Ziwewe had used the fictitious invoices to facilitate the loading out of the products to unknown destinations for their personal benefits.

In order to cover up for the offence, Moyo allegedly fraudulently transferred the number of cases of various products they stole from another warehouse to the other he was in charge of in the system, to give a picture that the products were physically transferred there.