HomeLocal NewsRBZ splashes $12m on Mliswa

RBZ splashes $12m on Mliswa

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At a time Zimbabwe was reeling from the effects of foreign currency shortages, the Reserve of Zimbabwe reportedly splashed almost $12 million for embattled businessman Temba Mliswa.
Mliswa is now facing fresh charges involving $3,5 million that he allegedly swindled from the central bank in a well-knit scam through one of his companies, Saltlakes Holdings two years ago.
Police yesterday took Mliswa out of remand prison and hauled him before the courts to face the new charges.
According to the state, Mliswa allegedly approached RBZ on behalf of Saltlakes Holdings in June 2008 for a Memorandum of Deposit facility (MOD) to enable him to purchase green leaf tobacco after failing to secure off-shore credit lines and was granted $5 million.
On July 8, Saltlakes, through their bankers Premier Banking Cooperation, applied for another $15 million MOD facility and was granted $7,5 million.
Saltlakes and Premier Bank allegedly agreed to a MOD facility of $6,5 million which Mliswa’s firm was expected to pay back to the central bank once they processed and sold their tobacco by December 31 2008.
For RBZ to protect its interest, it was allegedly agreed that the money would be paid through the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) through its managing director John Mangudya who would in turn remit the money to the central bank.
However, the state alleged, Saltlakes made representations in May last year to the RBZ that part of their tobacco was stolen while some was damaged by water and allegedly exaggerated the quantities.
It was agreed then that Saltlakes would pay $3,5 million.
The state further alleged that on May 6 last year Mliswa made further representation to be allowed to use part of the proceeds to purchase tobacco and agreed on a 50% proceeds share between RBZ and Saltlakes.
After this agreement, Mliswa allegedly sold tobacco to the tune of $3,5 million and was paid through a company called Savanna.
Mliswa however reportedly instructed Savanna not to deposit the money with CBZ and instead gave the company new payment instructions which resulted in the money being deposited into various accounts including African Banking Cooperation (ABC), Burley Marketing Zimbabwe, and Tobacco Sales Floor, which Mangudya, who had been entrusted to oversee the account, had no control over.
The state alleges that police investigations established that Mliswa allegedly diverted the money which was supposed to be paid to RBZ.
Yesterday Mliswa, clad in khaki shorts and a navy winter jacket, appeared a pale shadow of the energetic and tough-talking fitness trainer – apparently subdued by his three-week stint in jail. He nonetheless had the energy to crack jokes in court, lightening an otherwise cold and tense atmosphere in the courtroom.
“Look at this baby, he is Temba Mliswa junior, he shall take over everything and after him there shall be another Mliswa junior and so on –and so on,” he quipped, in apparent reference to a baby boy who was cuddled by a relative.
Tension however soon returned with the entrance of the magistrate to start proceedings. Mliswa faces up to 40 cases involving fraud, assault, obstruction of justice and theft.
The cases were dug out two weeks ago after the outspoken Mliswa had an ugly public spat with Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri over a case in which Mliswa was accused of attempting to wrest a million-dollar company from a Harare businessman.
Mliswa allegedly said President Robert Mugabe and Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, gave him their blessings to seize the vehicle accessory company.
Before the courts were done with that case, Mliswa was hauled back facing charges of fraud and theft of farm equipment in Karoi and Kwekwe valued at $32 million.
A week later, the businessman was taken back to court on more charges of theft, this time involving generators.
He then dropped the bombshell saying some of the generators had been bought by Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife to the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces Constantine and Paddington Zhanda a prominent businessman and Zanu PF Central Committee member.
Zhanda has since admitted buying one generator from Mliswa but vowed not to return the property saying it was purely a commercial transaction. Harare Magistrate Donald Ndirowei is today expected to hear his bail application.
Tendai Chiduwa represented the State while Mliswa is represented by Charles Chinyama of Chinyama and Associates legal practitioners.

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