Lunat case: Lawyer demands release of withheld information

A Bulawayo lawyer representing a local businessman in a case involving laundering and externalisation of more than US$1million has requested for Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to release ‘withheld’ information in his client’s case.

Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, who is representing Ismail Moosa Lunat (57), said ZACC did not bring forth all the details pertaining to the allegations levelled against the businessman.

Lunat is facing allegations of externalising and laundering foreign currency.

Sithole said that when ZACC arrested Lunat, the matter was already being investigated by CID Commercial Crimes Division and the details from the two bodies (ZACC and CID) were not in sync.

He stated that according to the information obtained by the CID from Lunat’s bank statement, a total of US$2.2million worth of transactions were made, with the name of one local businessman Mohammed Zakariya Patel appearing, but on the papers presented by the State to the court the particular name and the funds are not reflecting.

However, in documents seen by CITE, it appears some of the transactions by Lunat, were done on behalf of Patel.

The illicit money transfers were carried out in 2018 through Zimbabwean banks that include CBZ, NMB, Stanbic Ecobank and others.

The destinations for the illicit transfers include the United States, Canada, China and the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom

Documents indicate there was US$45, 000 that Lunat was asked by Patel to transfer to Dubai in an undisclosed deal.

According to the papers, there was a payment of US$100, 000 for what is described as Hitesh.

There are also numerous other transactions that include a transfer of US$2, 7 million to telecoms.

“We insist that the full schedule of transactions that were made through Lunat’s account be brought before the courts. The initial transactions which are in possession of CID Commercial Crimes Division-and my client confirms-amount to $2.2mlln including ones by Patel and some which were made to ZESA,” said Sithole.

“For this matter to proceed with transparency and justice to be served satisfactorily, we need that missing information. Why is the information being withheld, why were the transactions involving Patel removed, has the system been captured?”

Bulawayo magistrate Tinashe Tashaya denied Lunat bail and remanded his matter to February 28.

Magistrate Tashaya advised that Sithole makes an application to the court citing his grievances against ZACC so that the court may order for the release of the missing information.

Lunat was supposed to appear at a court in Harare for similar charges on February 13 and 14 but did not as the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services could not transport him to Harare.

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