Court freezes car dealer’s bank account

BY CHARLES LAITON

High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba has frozen the bank account of car dealer Farai Chiwashira following an application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which is seeking answers on how the businessman got the US$298 441 which was deposited and withdrawn from his account.

The ex-parte chamber application was filed by 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.

In his affidavit, Mutangadura said during the scope and course of his employment, he handled Chiwashira’s crime docket whose 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.”

In her determination, Justice Chirawu-Mugomba ruled in favour of the NPA and issued an order directing Chiwashira to give a statement to the 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 statement referred in paragraph (1) of the terms of this order relates to the disclosure by the first respondent of the nature and extent of his interest and how his bank account number 11016018571 with MBCA Limited Msasa Branch in Harare received a total deposits and transfers amounting to US$298 441, 70.”

The judge further said Chiwashira must explain “as to the nature of the transactions he engaged including production of all relevant documents/records related to the movement of the said money which was deposited into and withdrawn from his bank account…”

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