BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has ordered Waverley Blankets boss, Aaron Vico to co-operate with investigations in a matter where he stands accused of fraudulently wresting the company from its rightful shareholders.
Zacc made the order in an affidavit submitted to the High Court after Vico challenged a warrant of seizure and search against seven companies owned by the late Waverley Blankets owner, Victor Cohen.
The anti-graft body said it suspected that Vico fraudulently manufactured the firm’s shareholding documents to disenfranchise other shareholders after the death of its founder.
Cohen’s family members have claimed that Vico fraudulently changed company documents with the help of corrupt employees at the Registrar of Companies.
Zacc said the challenge to its warrant of seizure and search by Vico proved he had skeletons in the cupboard, hence the decision to seek cover from the court.
“Zacc has a constitutional duty to prevent, detect and investigate crime. It is merely carrying out its duties within the confines of the law and with due respect to human rights. The warrant in question was granted procedurally by a magistrate from information on oath based on reasonable grounds,” Zacc acting secretary Charity Matumbi said.
“In the given circumstances, there is no doubt that the applicant has no cause of action and has a skeleton to hide in his cupboard which needs exorcism and this could be the very reason why he is rushing for cover from this honourable court.
“I contend, therefore, that the reasons averred by the applicant (Vico) for this court application have reasonably no legal basis to warrant the honourable court’s intervention for a remedy in the criminal matter being investigated by Zacc and this court must register its displeasure by awarding punitive costs against applicant (Vico).”
The companies at the centre of the challenge are Waverley Blankets, Centracom, Gillimard Fashions, Tanrest, Blankets for Africa, Colourfast Textiles and Waverley Plastics.
Through his lawyer, Herbert Mutasa of Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans, Vico recently approached the High Court seeking an order to stop the issuing of search warrants.
“The documents that are sought to be seized have not been specified with such precision as to lead to their identification so as to preclude the possibility of other unrelated documents from being seized,” he argued.
“It seemed the magistrate who issued the warrant in question may not have applied her mind to the question of whether the same was couched in sufficiently precise terms to prevent unnecessary infringement of the right to privacy.”