Businessman’s bid for freedom flops
A lawyer representing a local businessman who is facing charges of money laundering has urged the courts to engage the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) to release information pertaining to his client’s case.
Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, who is representing Ismail Moosa Lunat ( 57), has expressed concern that the case is not being treated with the justice it deserves.
Lunat and his accomplices who were not named in court, allegedly received a total of US$1 349 495.24 through his company and transferred the money into several individuals and companies’ bank accounts.
He appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Tinashe Tashaya, seeking a ruling for his bail application.
Magistrate Tashaya dismissed the bail application citing that Lunat’s offence is a serious one and considering that he already has several similar charges pending in Harare, which date back to 2018.
The magistrate said the courts are now under scrutiny over the ‘catch and release’ syndrome, which is necessitated by accused persons who are released on bail and wipe away electronic evidence leaving courts with nothing to use against them.
“Cases involving corruption and prejudice of the nation have risen and are now a cancer affecting the courts. The country is affected by corruption which involves offences of laundering and black market. This court cannot therefore ignore the fact that accused person has pending cases involving millions of dollars in foreign currency,” said Magistrate Tashaya.
Sithole however expressed concern that the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) arrested Lunat before gathering all the evidence.
Sithole noted that the amount stated in the State papers does not match the total amount that was transacted and that some people who were involved in the transactions were not brought before the court.
He stated that at the time when Lunat was arrested by ZACC, the CID was still investigating the matter.
“Your Worship this case is not yet complete as far as investigations are concerned. The CID were provided with all the information but what is particularly interesting is that one Zachariah Patel is not mentioned anywhere in the papers. If ZACC was sincere enough then the amount stated here should be almost double the amount stated here,” said Sithole.
Magistrate Tashaya advised the defence counsel to submit an application to the effect that there is evidence being deliberately withheld by ZACC so that the State may follow up on the issue to ensure that justice is served.
State representative, George Rufumoyo told the court that in December 2018, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) raised a quiery over how Lunat was using his company bank account to engage in illicit transactions.
“On December 5, 2018, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe raised an alarm to the effect that the accused person used his company, Rollright Consultancy NMB account number 00002101194387 to peddle in illicit financial flows through illegally engaging in trade or exchange of money,” said Rufumoyo.
“This resulted in thousands of United states dollars being externalised outside Zimbabwe while various amounts were channelled into the black market in Zimbabwe.”
Rufumoyo alleged that at the time when the offence was committed, Lunat and his accomplices received US$1 349 495.24 through his company and he transferred the money into several individuals and companies’ bank accounts.