Zimbabwe News

Minister Kazembe Kazembe and General Godwin Matanga on scandal

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and police commissioner General Godwin Matanga have been dragged to court for refusing to arrest a Chinese national who used to supply leather products to the army, prisons and police for corruption and money laundering.

Chinese national Li Song, who was a co-director of Eagle Italian Leather Company, allegedly cooked documents for the purpose of buying foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) before transferring the money into an offshore Mauritius bank account for CureChem Company.

Eagle Italian Leather company supplies leather products to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).

The applicant, Francesco Marconati, cited officer in charge, Commercial Crimes Division, Detective Assistant Inspector Rungano Paduze, Detective Sergeant Tadious Shenjere, Matanga and Kazembe as the respondents respectively in his High Court application.

Marconati is the director of Eagle Italian Leather Company with 51% shareholding and is being represented by Obey Shava of Shava Law Chambers.

According to Marconati, sometime in August 2021, Song hatched a plan to steal from the company and generated a profoma invoice number ZIMBP2119 dated August 20, 2021.

The profoma invoice was purportedly raised by Curechem Holdings Limited domiciled at Number 201/2A, 2nd Floor, 1 Cybercity, Ebene, Mauritius.

The invoice was quoting 60 tonnes of hydrate lime at the price of US$13 800 and 60 tonnes sodium cyanide for US$144 000 for Strengthened Investments Private Limited.

Armed with the invoice, Song allegedly approached Ecobank Zimbabwe’s Borrowdale branch, Harare and applied for foreign currency through the RBZ Foreign Exchange Auction System.

On September 6, 2021, Song allegedly made a transfer of $6 538 625 from Marconati’s Ecobank local currency account number 5712000009793 for the purchase of foreign currency at RBZ.

On March 28, 2022, the complainant’s foreign currency account number 5783600044545 was credited with US$157 275.15 from the RBZ Foreign Exchange Auction System.

On April 12, 2022, the accused transferred US$78 266.06 and US$77 461.65 on April 13, 2022 into Curechem Holdings Limited’s bank account in Mauritius.

Marconati alleges that this was in violation of the country’s laws.

After the externalisation of funds was discovered, on October 7, 2021, the company passed a resolution to remove Song as one of the directors and the matter was reported to the police.

Marconati said preliminary investigations were done by Bulawayo Police before the matter was referred to CCD Harare.

According to Marconatti, the case was being handled by Detective Sergeant Shenjere.

“A warrant of search and seizure was issued to Detective Sergeant Shenjere in respect of any documents required from Ecobank Zimbabwe for purposes of his investigations,” Marconatti submitted.

“On or about December 13, 2022, my lawyers wrote to the officer-in-charge CCD following up on the progress and requesting the police to at least communicate anything in case they are facing any challenges.

“Nothing to date has been communicated.”

He added: “I submit that the police have failed to perform any of the duties outlined above.

“I reported the case in 2021, and to date, Song has not been taken to court despite the availability of overwhelming evidence and the fact that some cases l reported are straightforward.”

In his application, Marconati is seeking a declaratory relief ascertaining his right to equal protection and benefit from the law.

Marconati said the failure by the police to investigate and submit dockets in respect of complaints he filed between 2021 and 2022 violates his right to equality before the law.

“The respondents have breached their constitutional duty by refusing to act upon the complaints I filed with them, which complaints relate to offences committed in violation of my property rights,” he submitted.

“Respondents have refused to protect my rights through the use of the criminal justice system, which protection and benefit l am entitled to by operation of the law.

“I have been deprived of this right. I have been treated differently.

“All my complaints, despite respondents admitting that there was a reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, were neither investigated nor prosecuted.

“My attempts to assert my rights have been futile so far.”

He added: “I am left with no option but to approach this court for the vindication of my rights as I am constitutionally entitled to do.

“The failure by the police to perform their duties is detrimental to my property and business interests at large.

“What is now apparent is that instead of maintaining law and order; the police are aiding, abetting and harbouring a criminal offence.

“The police have become an impediment to law and order, which is not what it was established for.

“It is clear that someone within the police service is protecting Song at the expense of maintaining law and order.”

Source: bulawayo24

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