Mutare family faces $5bn money laundering charge

A MUTARE family was yesterday arraigned before a Harare magistrate on money-laundering charges involving $5 billion, which was orchestrated through their supermarket
business.

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA/ PRIMROSE HAISA

The six accused persons allegedly conducted foreign currency dealings thorough Family First Choice and Bailey Charamba Investments, which are both supermarkets in
Mutare.

Bailey Charamba Investments director Felix Tafadzwa Chikuse (38), Family First Choice Supermarkets director Shumirai Charamba (26), Simbarashe Charamba (39), Vimbai Charamba (41), Rudo Charamba (36) and Georgina Kabanda (35) were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Bianca
Makwande.

They are being charged for contravening section 5(1)(a) of the Exchange Control Act and section 8(1) of the Money-Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, after they used an EcoCash agent line to buy foreign currency equivalent to $4 979 643 231,81

The State led by prosecutor Michael Reza alleges that between January and June 2020, Simbarashe connived with other accused persons and used an EcoCash bulky agent line and 40 agent lines to buy foreign currency on the black market.

Eleven Family First Choice Supermarkets employees under the instruction of Simbarashe and his accomplices bought foreign currency from the parallel market.

They used $4 979 643 231,81 through the bulk agent line and it was redistributed to 40 different agent lines under Bailey Investments to disguise the illicit transactions.

Chikuse and Kabanda received commission from the two companies for performing the transactions.

They were remanded in custody to November 25, 2020.

The State is opposing bail on the basis that the accused were conducting their business informally and likely to abscond.

The State further argued that the accused committed a serious offence which attracts a custodial sentence.

Through their lawyer Brighton Pabwe of Venturas and Samkange, the accused challenged their placement on remand and the court will make a ruling on November 25, 2020.

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