Chiyangwa faces fresh probe

Clemence Manyukwe


BUSINESSMAN Phillip Chiyangwa is under police investigation on allegations of externalising foreign currency in violation of the Exchange Con

trol Act.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Loice Matanda-Moyo, said in an interview on Wednesday a docket on Chiyangwa was submitted to her office but was referred back to the police for further investigation. Chiyangwa is facing charges of exporting US$200 000 to Namibia.

 “The docket has been referred back to the police for further investigations after we raised certain concerns. Once it has been re-submitted to our office we will make a decision whether to prosecute or not,” Matanda-Moyo said.

She could not give further details on the matter.

Contacted for comment yesterday, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said: “As soon as we comply with instructions from the Attorney-General’s Office, the docket will be handed back to them.”

The Zimbabwe Independent first broke the story on the alleged externalisation of forex in January last year. Chiyangwa was said to have externalised US$200 000 between 2001 and 2004 to cover the preliminary costs of a joint-venture business in Namibia.

Chiyangwa, a former Zanu PF MP and provincial chairman for Mashonaland West, was expelled from the ruling party last week for unspecified reasons. His fallout with the Zanu PF leadership however appeared to have been prompted by his arrest towards the end of 2004 on allegations of espionage.

Documents show that Chiyangwa was allowed by the central bank to move money to Namibia, but when the deal collapsed the foreign currency was not repatriated.

In authorising the transfer, the RBZ is understood to have demanded quarterly progress reports on the envisaged joint venture.

In March last year Chiyangwa’s lawyers, Byron Venturas, wrote to the Independent saying the businessman had not committed any crime and that he had repatriated the foreign currency in question.

 “After the collapse of the joint-venture due to the Namibia Northern Investment Company failing to raise adequate funding our client repatriated his investment in the Namibian operation back to Zimbabwe under the auspices of the Reserve Bank,” the letter said.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has concurred that there was no criminal activity perpetrated by our client, his business or any of their affiliates during this transaction,” the lawyers said.

At that time RBZ governor Gideon Gono told the Independent Chiyangwa had repatriated part of the money.

The businessman, through his investment vehicle, Native Investments Africa (Pvt) Ltd, is said to have wanted to forge an alliance with a Namibian company, Namibia Northern Investment Group (NNIG), which later failed to raise enough money for the venture.

 Documents showed that Native Investments had undertaken to provide plant machinery and necessary technical assistance while NNIG was to provide buildings and working capital for the venture. This arrangement is understood to have given birth to a registered company called Crittal Hope Namibia (Pty) Ltd.

AR Project Services (ARPS) Namibia, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARPS Ltd, a company incorporated in South Africa and owned by Mutumwa Mawere, was appointed the project consultants on behalf of NNIG.
 
In July 2001, Chiyangwa opened a bank account in Namibia with the Standard Bank at a Windhoek branch.  The businessman is said to have operated a current account and later opened a foreign currency account (FCA) in which he was the sole signatory.

It was said Chiyangwa proceeded to deposit several US$20 000 bank drafts by three local banks namely Zimbank, Barclays Bank and Jewel Bank. It is understood Chiyangwa then transferred N$154 950 from the FCA to the current account.

The balance in the current account as at December 24 2004 stood at N$16 807 (US$2 800).  The Independent understands that in 2004 a total of N$1 252 472 (US$208 745 at that time) was transferred from the FCA to the current account.

While detained, the businessman is said to have suffered a mild stroke as a result of intense interrogation by state security agents.

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