Zimbabwe: Man In the Soup Over U.S.$1 Million Bank Balance

A Harare man is in a tight spot after the High Court issued him with an order to explain the source of US$1 048 533 in his bank account.

Mr Jairos Giles (41), who earns US$1 600 a month as managing director of Lapstar Logistics, has the burden to convince the State that his transactions and source of funds were clean, after the law was invoked to look into his income in line with the law, according to Section 37B as read with Section 37H of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Amendment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act regulations (Statutory Instrument 246 of 2018).

The State suspects Mr Giles is involved in illegal foreign currency dealings and investigations are underway to ascertain if the money and properties he acquired in a short space of time are clean.

The High Court issued an order directing Mr Giles to hand over a written statement to the police's Asset Forfeiture Unit explaining the nature of his business and how the US$1 048 553 got into his CBZ Bank account.

His bank account was also frozen.

Mr Giles should also explain how he acquired three low-density immovable properties and four vehicles within a short space of time.

He was also barred from carrying out any transactions regarding the property in question.

This followed an ex-parte application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seeking justification of the wealth and bank transaction above the maximum threshold of US$10 000.

Chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura, who heads the Asset Forfeiture Unit at NPA, is handling the case.

The prosecution wants the explanation, which is deemed relevant to ongoing investigations into money laundering allegations against Mr Giles.

Police are investigating suspicious transactions involving Mr Giles' bank account that saw the bank account receiving up to US$1 048 553 between April and September last year.

"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.

"The total amount of money transacted by the first respondent between April 2018 and September 2018 is US$1 048 553," reads Mr Mutangadura's affidavit.

From his monthly salary of US$1 600, Giles, who is a tenant at Number 16 Lownsdale Avonlea, pays US$400 rent every month.

Prior to his employment with Lapstar, Giles had worked for five years as a chief dealer for Dragon Bureau de Change.

Giles owns stand numbers 5892 and 5893 Crowhill, Borrowdale worth US$63 000.

He also owns a Nissan Xtrail, registration number (AEN 4787), Nissan Tiida (AEW 0758), Toyota (777 897B) and Mercedes Benz (AEY 6720).

The State believes the wealth was ill-gotten.

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

"The acquisition of property raised by the respondents raises suspicion of commission by him of the crime of money laundering," reads the affidavit.

The State contends that Giles' legitimate income can only be proven by way of income tax declaration.

The State also wants Giles to submit any other relevant documents justifying his wealth to the police.

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