BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
MDC-T activist Patson Murimoga has petitioned Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to arrest opposition leader Douglas Mwonzora for alleged theft of $6 355 000 from party coffers.
According to the petition seen by NewsDay, Murimoga is pushing the Justice minister to facilitate the arrest of Mwonzora for theft of party funds, money laundering, in violation of Zimbabwe Foreign Currency Exchange Control Act, and disregard of the country’s anti-corruption policy.
Acting on behalf of the MDC-T, Murimoga reported the opposition leader on December 26, 2020 alleging theft of party funds (RB#2236/12/2020).
In his petition, he stated that according to a memorandum prepared by the Police’s Commercial Crimes Unit, Mwonzora with the aid of the party’s finance director Toddy Mapingire, reportedly transferred a total of $6355 000 to various accounts linked to illegal money changers.
The Police Commercial Crimes Unit has since enlisted the services of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate the matter.
He said in a memorandum to the Financial Intelligence Unit, police claimed there was reasonable suspicion that Mwonzora and Mapingire contravened section 5(1)(a) of the Exchange Control Act and section 8(1) of the Money-Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, after they used the MDC-T BancABC account number 50863225502015 Heritage branch to buy foreign currency equivalent to $6 355 000.
In December last year, the MDC-T received $14 million from government under the Political Parties (Finance) Act. The funds were deposited into the opposition party’s BancABC account number 50863225502015 Heritage branch.
It is alleged that on December 18, 2020, Mwonzora and Mapingire transferred $2 800 000 from the bank account into Bell Petroleum BancABC account number 15104045502014.
On the same date, $1 755 000 was transferred into Madzara Trust CABS account number 1129721914. In another transaction, $1 800 000 was transferred to a “well-known illegal money changer” Martha Munandi’s account number 260126563.
Part of the petition reads: “We are coming to the ministry guided by the ministry’s mission statement: ‘To promote an effective justice delivery system and provide legal services, rehabilitation that guarantee good governance, democracy and the rule of law’.
“It will be four months on April 27, 2021 since the theft case was reported on December 26, 2020.
“Suffice to say Honourable minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, that theft of any kind, from any person or entity by anyone regardless of their political or economic position, should be a top priority of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Justice?
“I am imploring you Honourable minister to implement your mission and ensure the rule of law in this instance.”
Murimoga said he was not fighting Mwonzora, but wanted the rule of law to be observed.
“I am a good friend of Mwonzora and if you remember I was once his campaign manager. I am simply saying law should take its course regardless of the fact that the accused has good relations with the sitting President,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Ziyambi were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Murimoga and George Rice caused the rise of Mwonzora when he challenged the appointment of Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as MDC-T co-vice-presidents in court and won the case.
The Supreme Court in March last year ruled that Chamisa was illegally appointed and ordered the opposition party to replace him at a congress.
The congress was held and Mwonzora was elected president of the MDC-T.