Sunday Mail Reporter
GOVERNMENT has begun crafting a law to provide a legal standing to probe and seize wealth from individuals suspected to have clandestinely accumulated riches.
Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa gazetted the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act) Regulations which empowers Government to seize unexplained wealth.
The development later saw Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube incorporate the measures in his 2019 budget, before legislators sought the matter be treated differently since it was not a finance issue.
The Sunday Mail has established that a Bill is now being developed to deal with ‘unexplained wealth’ and is expected to be introduced in Parliament soon.
In an interview recently, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said legal experts were working on the piece of legislation to be brought before the august House within the next two months.
“When you invoke Presidential Powers Temporary Measures, they last for six months. The Bill has to be brought to Parliament within six months. By March or early April the legislation should be in place,” he said.
“We removed the section on Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Act on unexplained wealth (from the Finance Bill) because it’s not a finance matter per se, it would complicate issues… For the sake of progress, we just had to draft a separate Bill,”
Minister Ziyambi said the Finance and Economic Development Ministry would over-see the crafting of the legislation.
He said the legislation would incorporate a number of issues other than those that were initially targeted.
The minister said when The President promulgated Statutory Instrument 246 on the unexplained wealth, Government wanted to curb issues of suspicious money transfers.
“We were saying that if you get $100 000 deposited in your account and you are known to earn, for instance, $500 then that is a suspicious transaction,” said Minister Ziyambi.
“If the bank is satisfied then that is okay. If the bank is not satisfied with your explanation they are obliged to report it to the police for further investigations.
“The mischief that we wanted to cure was that of people having huge transfers when they are not known to be in any productive sector and that was the conduit of these illegal foreign currency dealings.”
The new legislation will authorise the High Court to issue an unexplained wealth order on properties of individuals.
The country has witnessed a surge in individuals who accumulate wealth overnight amid concern over high corruption activities.