23 May 2019

Zimbabwe: Car-Dealer's Bank Account Frozen Over Mysterious U.S.$298 441

A LOCAL car dealer could be in trouble after his bank account was frozen over questions on how he acquired thousands of dollars in a short period of time.

High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba Wednesday ordered the freezing of Farai Chiwashira's MBCA Bank account.

This follows a successful application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which is seeking answers on how the businessman amassed US$298 441.

The money was allegedly deposited and withdrawn from his account recently.

The ex-parte chamber application was filed by chief law officer and head of the specialised unit known as the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), Chris Mutangadura after formulating an opinion that an unexplained wealth order together with an interim freezing order be sought against Chiwashira.

Mutangadura said during his employment, he handled Chiwashira's crime docket.

He said information involved investigation into suspicious transactions around his bank account.

"Information in the docket reveals that the said bank account received some substantial amount of money exceeding the statutory threshold of US$10 000 thereby justifying the granting of the order sought by this honourable court," he said.

"The total amount of money transacted by the first respondent (Chiwashira) between March 12, 2018 and December 7, 2018 is US$298 441, 70.

"It is suspected that the money deposited into the first respondent's account and taken out is proceeds of some illegal activities most likely foreign currency exchange known as parallel/black market dealing."

The Judge ruled that Chiwashira must give a statement to police within 30 days from the date of the court order, being May 7, 2019.

"The first respondent be and is hereby directed to give a statement to the head of CID Commercial Crimes Division's Asset Forfeiture Unit at Morris Depot within 30 days from the date of this order," she said.

The Judge further said Chiwashira must explain the nature of transactions he made.

She ruled that he must also submit supporting documents to his explanation.

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