Police swoop on BancABC

POLICE have swooped on BancABC armed with a warrant of search and seizure against the bank as government intensifies investigations into the dodgy agro-processing firm, Nyaminyami Tobacco (Pvt) Ltd, which is linked to Zanu PF, for evading tax.

By Bernard Mpofu

Under probe ... A branch of BancABC.
Under probe … A branch of BancABC.

This comes after the Zimbabwe Independent first reported in June that the military and several shadowy companies linked to sanctions-busting manoeuvres involving shady diamond trading activities and mysterious financial transactions, helped to rescue Zanu PF during the disputed 2013 general elections, in which an Israeli security firm Nikuv was paid over US$10 million for electoral tasks.

In the process of rescuing Zanu PF by helping it secure campaign funding and materials, Treasury was prejudiced of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes as the main player, Nyaminyami, was not paying its dues.

Informed sources told the Independent that police pounced on BancABC demanding bank statements covering the period January 2011 and November 2013; account opening forms for Nyaminyami; payment instructions of all telegraphic transfers and confirmation of tax payments made to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

“Towards the end of June, the bank received a warrant of search and seizure from CID Serious Fraud Squad in investigations being carried out on Nyaminyami Tobacco Company. According to the warrant of search and seizure it is alleged that Nyaminyami Tobacco was being probed for contravening a section of the Income Tax Act,” a source familiar with the developments said.

“The investigating officers are yet to return to collect the said documentation and no further communication has been received from them. The bank, however, insists that it does not have an account with this company dating back to 2011.”

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba and BancABC MD Joe Sibanda could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

Documents seen by the Independent say no income taxes, Pay-As-You-Earn (Paye), royalties and value-added tax (Vat) were remitted as Nyaminyami was not registered with Zimra. They also show the company transferred US$3,7 million to China deceptively claiming it was for buying gasoil. Nyaminyami transacted US$17,3 million without remitting any taxes.

The documents also show in 2013 Nyaminyami borrowed US$20 million from BancABC, but it was Sakunda Holdings, owned by Zanu PF benefactor Kuda Tagwirei, which signed the loan application forms.

The purpose of the funds was unclear, but they were secured at a time Nyaminyami was actively buying diamonds from Marange Resources and helping to import campaign materials for Zanu PF under the military’s direction.

For the first time President Robert Mugabe in April publicly confirmed that he has been using the military to campaign and win elections as previously reported by the Independent and other media organisations, leaving the army exposed.

Addressing war veterans on April 7, Mugabe ordered Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga to stand up before thanking him for the role the military played to ensure Zanu PF won the disputed 2013 elections and other polls before that.

He also revealed he extended Chiwenga and other security service chiefs’ contracts in 2009 and afterwards so that they could continue to support Zanu PF to win elections although the move is unconstitutional and unlawful.