A sub-committee of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) which comprises law enforcement agencies responsible for financial investigations has reported an increase in cases of high-profile illicit financial flows in the country.
The committee, which is overally led by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Justice Loyce Matanda Moyo (pictured), comprises the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit.
In a report tabled at the NACS’ latest meeting held in Harare on 2 March, the committee reported that there were a total of 71 high-profile illicit financial flow cases received by the country’s law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the first quarter of this year.
In the month of January alone, the RBZ’s FIU recorded 28 cases of illicit financial flows up from only two recorded in December last year.
The value of seized properties from the cases recorded in January stood at US$ 2.2 million.
Part of the sub-committee’s report singled out a case of former Zimra employee identified as Tobbias Zangairai whose matter was handled at the High Court under case number HACC 01/23 and his unexplained wealth seized.
“Subject is a former employee of Zimra and during his term of employment he amassed his wealth using proceeds of crime. Lifestyle audit was carried out and established various properties in Mutare, Bulawayo, Beitbridge and Harare.”
“Parallel financial investigations were instituted against Subject and various properties were identified to be under his control. On 30 January 2023, an interim freezing order was issued by the High Court,” reads part of the report.
In its recommendations, the sub-committee said there was a need to migrate to e-registration of all title dleeds and trusts.
Most criminals are now registering properties under Trusts and it is very difficult to trace the names of the Trusts against the beneficial owners as the same are registered in other names,” said the sub-committee.
It also urged recruitment of valuators for purposes of execution of asset recovery investigations for valuation of seized assets awaiting determination by the High Court.
The sub-committee also called for continued capacity building “for all stakeholders in the asset recovery value chain in order to effectively carry out investigations ranging from technical skills, vehicles, laptops and drones.”
The sub-committee also reiterated its call for the threshold of unexplained wealth to be reduced from US$100 000 to US$20 000.
The amount of the unexplained wealth threshold is contained in the amended Statutory Instrument 246 of 2018 under Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act.
A report by the International Crisis Group last year estimated that cash-strapped Zimbabwe is losing at least US$1.5 billion annually to gold smuggling which adds to illicit financial flow cases.
In a documentary yet to be released by international news agency Al Jazeera, some of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close allies like Ewan Macmillan, Henrietta Rushwaya and his Ambassador at Large Ubert Angel are implicated in shady deals.