Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) financial intelligence unit director Mirirai Chiremba has said he will apply for refusal of further remand during his next court appearance.
Chiremba appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti and was remanded to March 15 pending finalisation of investigations into his fraud case. He is accused of reviewing Suzan General Trading’s daily cash withdrawal limit from $95 000 to $195 000 without following procedures.
“The accused person intends to apply for further remand refusal if not furnished with a trial date because … investigations in this matter are simple and all locally-based,” reads Chiremba’s notice.“The law does not permit the State to arrest people so as to investigate but investigations must precede arrests.
“The accused person is employed and the current proceedings are interfering with his duties and the unending remands are now amounting to punishment without a trial. ”According to the State, on October 13, 2017, Suzan General Trading, a gold dealer opened an NMB corporate bank account at Borrowdale branch which was meant to facilitate payments by Fidelity Printers and Refiners for gold delivery by the company.
At the time, the court heard the corporate withdrawal limit per day was $10 000. It is alleged that on October 27, 2017, Suzan General Trading through one of its signatories Shah Saunilkumar submitted an application at NMB seeking review of its daily withdrawal amount from $10 000 to $30 000 per day.
According to State papers, NMB carried out due diligence exercise to determine the justification for upward review before it referred the application to RBZ financial intelligence unit for processing.
The application was approved by Chiremba on November 3 last year, the court heard.
It is the State’s case that the withdrawals in question were dependent on US dollar deposits made by Suzan General Trading into the same account. On February 23, 2018, it is alleged that Suzan General Trading tendered another application for upward review of their company’s daily withdrawal limit from $30 000 to $95 000 purportedly due to business expansion.
The court heard that NMB did due diligence before referring the letter to RBZ on behalf of the client. On August 3, the court heard that the company sought another upward review to $195 000 and followed the usual process. While NMB was still reviewing the application, it is alleged that Chiremba granted the company permission to make daily withdrawal of $195 000 despite the fact that the application had not been sent to RBZ’s financial intelligence unit.
Upon realising that Chiremba approved the application before NMB carried its due process, the bank’s retail banking manager Simon Tembo contacted Chiremba who confirmed having approved the upward review. It is the State’s case that Chiremba acted contrary and inconsistent to his duties as a public officer by reviewing the company’s daily cash withdrawal limit from $95 000 to $195 000 without following procedures.