The vehicle service giant, Croco Motors, has been accused of presenting wrongful information before the courts in a case involving a motorist who had her car wrongfully fueled with diesel, causing severe damage to the vehicle.
After the fuel mishap, Croco Motors provided a courtesy vehicle for the lady Kudzayi Mundangepfupfu while they tried to sort out the affected vehicle. The understanding was that she would return the courtesy vehicle once her own car was in its original state.
However, Croco Motors reported Mundangepfupfu and caused her arrest.
Croco Motors wrongfully alleges that the incident happened in May while the incident occurred on April 25.
“Our client advised us that on April 25, a fuel attendant at Croco Puma Bond Service stand erroneously fueled her vehicle…with diesel instead of petrol. Having realized the error, Croco Motors then engaged their resident mechanics to attend to the car,” wrote Mundangepfupfu’s lawyers on May 9, in a letter addressed to Croco’s legal representatives.
They alleged that Mundangepfupfu wanted the car for a school run but facts on the ground show that pupils were on holiday.
The state also alleges that the agreement was that Mundangepfupfu was supposed to return the car on demand.
However, during cross-examination Mundangepfupfu told the courts that the agreement was that she would only return the car once the car was fixed.
She also said she is the one who voluntarily gave the car to the Marlbrough Police who have arrested her.
Croco Motors claimed that the car was fixed and gave it to Mundangepfupfu. However, a letter from Zimoco showed that the company dumped the car at their premises without it being fixed.
Croco Motors allegedly falsified the report from Zimoco so that Mundangepfupfu be arrested at Marlbrough Police Station.
State prosecutor Heather Muokoto was allegedly informed that the vehicle was still with Zimoco but she nonetheless put it on the charge sheet.
On July 17th, Muokoto abandoned trial mid-way when she was supposed to do cross examination forcing the magistrate to stop proceedings. She alleged came the next day with a set of questions which were purportedly written for her by her superior Reza.
There is suspicion that she got a bribe to pin Mundangepfupfu.
The State sought to highlight that the car had faults prior to its coming for refueling.
However, a technical report from Mercedes Benz dated July 7, 2022, showed that the vehicle was damaged while they were trying to drain the fuel.
The evidence also established that Croco Motors did not drain the fuel properly, which caused damage to the vehicle.
“The fuel tank had been drained by cranking the vehicle for a long time and draining through the fuel supply pipe,” findings from Mercedes Benz specialist ZIMOCO read. “The vehicle was now showing a number of faults on the instrument cluster.”
The state sought to put the blame on Mundangepfupfu that she mistakenly joined the diesel queue instead of the petrol queue, despite being asked by the fuel attendants about the fuel type multiple times, to which she consented.
The state alleges that realizing her mistake after the diesel had been pumped into her car, Mundangepfupfu immediately informed the station manager about the mishap.
However, Croco Motors was exposed as lying because on the day of the refueling incident, Mundangepfupfu was not there.
During cross-examination, Mundangepfupfu said the car was being driven by her brother Munyaradzi.
“I was not the one who was driving the vehicle when the incident happened,” Mundangepfupfu told the court.
Her brother Munyaradzi gave a detailed account of what transpired on the day, calling his sister who was not in the vicinity telling her what was transpired.
Meanwhile, Mundangepfupfu has filed a complaint with the Judicial Services Commission against Presiding Magistrate Yeukai Nzuda, alleging bias, prejudice, and a violation of her constitutional rights in the handling of her criminal case.
In a letter addressed to the commission, Mundangepfupfu outlined several instances that she believes demonstrate the lack of impartiality on the part of Magistrate Nzuda.
She claims that the court showed favoritism towards Croco Motors, granting them a month-long postponement to find a witness while denying a postponement to her heavily pregnant legal counsel due to a maternity medical emergency.
“Early this year Croco motors requested a postponement for a month to look for a witness they wanted to introduce after trial had commenced yet they knew 6 months prior that they would need that Witness and were granted this postponement. “The Magistrate herself from the beginning of my case would postpone dates because of leave or holidays she was taking for 3 weeks to a month at a time. However, my legal counsel who was heavily pregnant requested a postponement due to a pregnancy medical emergency on the 26’h of April 2023 through a junior counsel as she was unwell to attend a court sitting. Not only was it declined even though maternity leave is her right but the Magistrate went on to caution me that my trial would continue in the next 3 working days with or without legal counsel, which was a violation of my constitutional right,” said Mundangepfupfu
Source: Harare Times