Senior Court Reporter
COMPANIES and individuals alleged to have been involved in illegal foreign currency deals that saw over $1,5 billion being transacted on the parallel market within six months, were yesterday denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court.
Titanium Capital (Pvt) Limited, Dream High Investments (Pvt) Limited, Access Finance, Vision Credit Source Private Limited, Capital Profit Financial Services, Capital Profit Financial Services, Raymond Mudonhi Investment Private Limited, Justice Mahuni, Kudzai Mudonhi, and Juso Global Limited separately appeared in court charged with dealing illegally in foreign currency.
All the company directors were denied bail when they appeared before different regional magistrates, who remanded them in custody to October 18 for routine remand.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna denied Access Finance director Singathini Chigogwana bail, saying he was likely to interfere with witnesses.
Mr Nduna said Chigogwana was likely to destroy evidence once released on bail.
“The State has shown that it has many witnesses from which statements have been recorded from a few.
“The circumstances of the case are that the infringement of the law is vast and involves many persons. The State can choose to use an accomplice as a witness or to charge him.
“In this case, it is apparent that the bulk of the said witnesses are likely to be accomplice witnesses. This makes the evidence in those witnesses very vulnerable to distortion by interference by the accused,” he said.
Mr Nduna said the State needs to explain to the witnesses the consequences of being State witnesses in the event that they would have committed the same offence.
He noted that the process would require the State to invite them to record their complicity in the offence to the police and prosecution saying the process demands non-interference.
Mr Nduna in his bail ruling also noted that the Access Finance director had been frequently flying out of the country.
“What that shows is that the accused has at least a destination out of the jurisdiction of the court.
“It extreme folly on the part of the court to ignore the fact that skipping the country illegally has been made easier than before.
“It is notorious that courts have remained with suspects’ passports when the owners have become fugitives from justice.
“This is so when the persons have contacts outside. Accused is such a person,” he said.
Mr Nduna is today expected to decide on granting bail to Tererai Private Limited director Samuel Tererai Chiodze, who allegedly transacted $125 722 079.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere also denied Chemmodities Trading Private Limited director Isau Bwerinofa bail, saying he was likely to interfere with witnesses, whom he said were his employees.
Bwerinofa is alleged to have transacted $185 420 444 on the parallel market.
He was ordered to return to court on October 18.
Kay Mudonhi Investments, which is jointly charged with Kudzai Mudonhi and Justice Mahuni is alleged to have transacted $150 million between January and June 30, 2020.
It is alleged that during the same period, Mudonhi and Mahuni opened business current accounts with Steward Bank on behalf of Kay Mudonhi Investments.
They also allegedly opened EcoCash agent lines in the name of Kay Investments.
The court heard that during the same period they received $150 128 765 into their Steward Bank account which they later transferred into the EcoCash agent lines, which would then be used to buy forex on the streets.
Vision Credit Sources (Pvt) Limited, which is jointly charged with Takudzwa Godwin Rafemoyo, is said to have transacted $192 million between January and June last year.
Rafemoyo is alleged to have opened a bank account for Vision Credit with Steward Bank before registering five separate EcoCash agent lines, which were then used as conduits to move the money to various buyers.
During the same period, Rafemoyo, on behalf of his company allegedly transferred $192 2017 880 into a Steward Bank account and later transferred $49 million into EcoCash agent lines for the purposes of buying forex on the black market.
Between January 16 and May 7 the same year, he allegedly transferred $49 million into one of his agent lines and later used it to purchase forex from the black market.
Access Finance and Chigogwana are alleged to have transacted $185 million through 12 EcoCash agent lines.
Isau Bwerinofa, who is jointly charged with Access Finance, allegedly used $185 million to buy forex from the streets using EcoCash agent lines.
Bwerinofa is also separately appearing with Chemmodities Trading for transacting nearly $333 million on the parallel market.
Juso Global and Justice Mahuni allegedly dealt in $262 million while Capital Profit Financial and its director Tapiwa Madzara allegedly traded $59 237 733 through 13 companies and individuals.