Ministers face arrest in blitz

17
4037
President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States, on Wednesday night

POLICE have reportedly sought search and seizure warrants against named top Zanu PF officials and former Cabinet ministers as government begins swooping on cash barons and suspected economic saboteurs following the unexplained rise in prices on basic commodities, NewsDay Weekender has established.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

This came as President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday warned that the government would swoop on cash barons, economic saboteurs and those suspected to be behind other illicit deals in the country.

Speaking after being installed as the new Bindura University of Science Education chancellor yesterday, Mnangagwa said there were individuals behind the parallel market and manipulating the economy to cause artificial shortages.

“The net is closing in on the gluttonous individuals and government will soon name, shame and bring them to book,” he said.

As of yesterday, the United States dollar-bond note exchange rates on the parallel market were hovering around 350% for real time gross settlement transfers, although most dealers were operating in hiding and only handling transactions with their known clients.

According to police sources, search warrants were obtained against the senior Zanu PF officials, among them two former Cabinet ministers and a legislator and prominent businessman.

Police insiders said the search warrants were obtained on Thursday afternoon before Harare provincial magistrate Elisha Singano and were due to be executed “anytime”.

“Some Zanu PF officials are suspected to be funding these money changers. The raids include companies linked to them, all financial transactions and searching premises of their companies and places of residence,” a source said.

The MP last night said he was not aware of any search warrant against him.

“I don’t deal in forex, I deal in land,” the businessman said.

Another former minister also said his hands were clean while expressing ignorance of the existence of a search warrant.

“I am also looking for cash (just like everyone else),” he said

Another ex-minister’s phone was not reachable yesterday.

Also targeted were foreigners owning businesses, but were not banking cash as required by law.

These businesses, according to the sources, were reportedly mopping out the US dollar for externalisation.

NewsDay Weekender heard that some banks and senior figures at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) were also suspected to be abetting and fanning the US dollar black market activities.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission head of investigation, Goodson Nguni, said the anti-graft body was not involved in the operation, suggesting that it was either the police or the special anti-corruption unit in the President’s Office.

“Check with the police or that special unit headed by Thabani Mpofu, they could be the one carrying out the operation,” Nguni said.

Mpofu said he was unaware of the search warrants, but referred all questions to the acting Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi.

“I don’t know anything, maybe talk to the acting PG. He might assist. I have no clue on what you are asking,” Mpofu said.

Hodzi was said to be in a meeting by an aide who picked up the call and promised the acting AG would return calls when free.

He had not done so by the time of going to print, as his mobile phone was also no longer being answered.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube told State broadcaster on Thursday night that authorities were closing in on money changers, who have been accused of fuelling price hikes and creating artificial shortages in the market.

Ncube said he was not aware that some senior Zanu PF officials were involved in illicit deals, but warned action would be taken against those trading on the parallel money market.

“I don’t know who is involved, but what we know for certain is that someone is fuelling these illicit deals and authorities are attending to that,” Ncube said as he exonerated the central bank from the activities.

Mnangagwa last week said he was now treating money changers as a security threat, as they were wreaking havoc in the economy.

“A great threat to our bid to stimulate productive activity in the economy comes by way of non-productive, speculative activities operating below the radar, but involving millions in precious foreign currency and bond notes,” Mnangagwa wrote in a weekly State paper.

“These nefarious activities thrive on different electronic platforms. New measures will be pursued to stop such malpractices.”

RBZ governor John Mangudya also condemned the illegal practice for hurting the economy and affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Naming and shaming……in shona kunonzi kusvereredza. Now gvt wants kusvereredza mbavha instead of arresting them…….i think we are being led nepwere seriously. How do you expect to have no black market when there are no bureau de changes.Vanhu vanochinjira forex kupi now. Why cant you let there be formal institutions that deal in forex on market determined rates. Itai mushe madhara imimi.

  2. Do not spare the various fabric shops run by the Indian community in charter road who are specialising in selling for bond notes only no coins and later convert the money to USD on a daily basis, ungrateful lot

    • Exactly …..thanks for that question. Editor, what business is it of you in alerting criminal suspects before the police interview them? Can that be possible without you betraying your complicity in these serious crimes? If this is a genuine story then Newsday you have a serious case to answer, not only in a criminal court of law but in a public court of law through Parliament and unfortunately no retraction nor whatever move will save you from this self-implication.

  3. We’ve heard naming and shaming before and nothing much improved from that.

    Why are we warning individuals before arresting them? Surely, by the time warrants are issued and executed the evidence will have been destroyed and the cash hidden.

  4. I think we really need to resuscitate our agriculture focusing on crops such as soya beans, horticulture as well as beef and dairy instead of this. We need to produce as a country in order to get the much needed forex. This naming and shaming will not help at all. Ndiniwo uyo.

  5. Comment…Name and shame the shameless? Soon coming to power on the back of military coup, he claimed he would name and shame those who had externalised but this was a dub squid. He is invlolved in artisinal gold mining and selling hence he is compromised and cant do anything as he is one of them. Pasi nejunta

  6. Kuma tuckshop eku downtown 99% of those wholesaling shops are owned by Tanzanians. These guys hardly enter the bank. They dont accept coins telltale signs dzekuti they need the notes to mop forex. Somebody needs to investigate these guys immigration statuses and which banks they bank their monies. As long as vachisiyiwa apana chinobuda. That area is hotbed ye foreign currency dealings.

    • kkkk if I have money, and want to buy something tomorrow with it, why must I take it to the bank? where I know I will never get it back? this is dealing with symptoms. The govt stole pple’s money and left them with bank balances. Its the govt that created this problem and wants to point fingers at people who are trying to live with this theft.

  7. I have just noted something from commentary box,foreigners are using bond notes to mop up Forex.These are serious opportunists.We local people could not and can not see opportunities that make us rich but we can only see theres a 99% of bussinessmen and women from outside the country hoarding cash.I think its high time Zimbabweans in Harare stop bluffing but open eyes and utilise opportunities surrounding us.shuwa shuwa munhu otiza hondo kubva Congo otouya kuzounganidza hupfumi muno isu tirimo.kkkk its hight time we work hard and stop complaining.Never came across a foreigner crying foul over situation in Zim.instead they are happy.I dont think we are suffering because of government,we are suffocating ourselves.

  8. SELF DESTRUCTING KKKKK STILL TO WAITING TO HEAR THAT MDC MPS ARE CORRUPT, MUCHENJERE KUSUNGA PARTY YESE YE ZANU PF,

  9. The regime has not clearly defined what these cash barons, economic saboteurs, etc. have done wrong. Even if someone if found with thousands, hundreds of thousands of US$ or whatever, they have done nothing wrong as there is no law saying one must deposit their cash with the Bank particularly when the said Banks have been reluctant to give it back!

    This is a knee-jerk reaction of a regime that has no idea what it is doing. The root cause of the foreign currency shortage is because Zimbabwe is paying more for imports than the country is earning from exports. Even if the regime arrested every illegal forex dealer and recovered ever US$, SA Rand, etc. it will be just a matter of days, months at most, before there is another shortage of forex. This is just kicking a can down the road.

    Zimbabwe’s economic recovery will depend on restore the country’s economic production to reduce imports and restore our balance of payments by increasing exports.

    • Currency and gold are the same if one is found selling our currency (bond) you must go to prison. Why should our money become a commodity wher will old people. you should just go prison YOU ARE UNDERMINING OUR BELOVED COUNTRY.IF rate goes up by 50% these money dealers do not know what it means simple maths a car is costing 5000 USD X 50%
      if a lodger is paying 350USD X 50% per month, schools fees goes up so rate went up to 600% in the past week who can afford this just do the maths

Comments are closed.