Il­le­gal cur­rency deal­ers to be jailed for 10 years

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Kuda Bwititi Chief Re­porter

PRES­I­DENT Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has used tem­po­rary pow­ers for a new law that will see il­le­gal cur­rency traders be­ing sen­tenced to up to ten years in jail, while ill-got­ten wealth will be con­fis­cated.

Un­der reg­u­la­tions that come into ef­fect to­mor­row, Gov­ern­ment will track un­ex­plained move­ment of money in the fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s in­ter­ven­tion – which in­volves amend­ing the Ex­change Con­trol and Money Laun­der­ing and Pro­ceeds of Crime Acts – is through con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions of the Pres­i­den­tial Pow­ers (Tem­po­rary Mea­sures) Act.

Par­lia­ment needs to ap­prove the law within six months to make it per­ma­nent.

The new law pre­scribes a max­i­mum 10-year cus­to­dial sen­tence for il­le­gal cur­rency traders, and au­thor­i­ties will be em­pow­ered — through the Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­ders Statute — to con­fis­cate ill-got­ten wealth.

The Zim­babwe Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion and Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity have been em­pow­ered to pur­sue per­pe­tra­tors of fi­nan­cial crime.

Deputy Chief Sec­re­tary to the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net (Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions) Mr Ge­orge Charamba yes­ter­day told The Sun­day Mail that Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa had signed the law that will be gazetted to­mor­row.

Jus­tice, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ziyambi Ziyambi said: “Our teams have been work­ing tire­lessly on the laws for the past few weeks and the leg­is­la­tion is ready for

gazetting. It will be is­sued through an Ex­tra­or­di­nary Gov­ern­ment Gazette.”

Sec­re­tary for Jus­tice Mrs Vir­ginia Mab­hiza said the new law elim­i­nates grey ar­eas that were be­ing ex­ploited by crim­i­nals to es­cape cul­pa­bil­ity.

“There have been two leg­isla­tive in­ter­ven­tions which have been made by His Ex­cel­lency. The first one is amend­ment to the Ex­change Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions (Ex­change Con­trol Act). The def­i­ni­tion of ‘dealer’ is fur­ther clar­i­fied to as­sist ju­di­cial of­fi­cers in in­ter­pret­ing the law and also the gen­eral pub­lic in ap­pre­ci­at­ing the law.

“The sec­ond amend­ment is to the Money Laun­der­ing (and Pro­ceeds of Crimes) Act to pro­vide for un­ex­plained wealth and the re­spec­tive en­force­ment agents where a pub­lic of­fice holder or some­one pre­vi­ously in that ca­pac­ity fails to ac­count for wealth ac­cu­mu­lated in a man­ner sus­pected to be crim­i­nal,” she said.

“The Ex­change Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions have also been amended to in­tro­duce a pre­sump­tion where one con­ducts them­selves in a cer­tain man­ner to be held li­able for deal­ing.”

Mrs Mab­hiza said the Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­ders would give crime-fight­ing en­ti­ties like the Na­tional Prose­cu­tion Au­thor­ity, Zacc and the Zim­babwe Repub­lic Po­lice power to seize un­ex­plained wealth. “The Pres­i­dent has in­voked his pow­ers so that law en­force­ment agents such as the po­lice, the NPA and the Zacc have more teeth to com­pel sus­pects to ex­plain their wealth. All those who fail to give sat­is­fac­tory an­swers risk for­fei­ture of their as­sets or monies in their ac­counts.

“This in­stru­ment can be in place for six months. Within these six months, Par­lia­ment can use its pow­ers to make the law per­ma­nent.” A le­gal ex­pert in­volved in craft­ing the leg­is­la­tion, who elected to be anony­mous, said the reg­u­la­tions were in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice.

“In the past it was dif­fi­cult to do any­thing to peo­ple that were sus­pected of cor­rup­tion or those that have un­ex­plained huge amounts of money in their ac­counts.

“Au­thor­i­ties now have a firm ba­sis to make de­mands on peo­ple to ac­count for their wealth. What this means is that Zacc, the po­lice or Zimra can now go to court to seek an or­der to com­pel any per­son to ex­plain his source of wealth. In the event that there is no sat­is­fac­tory ex­pla­na­tion, that per­son risks los­ing money that is in his ac­count or prop­er­ties that he or should would have ac­quired through the sus­pi­cious deal­ings.

“This year, Bri­tain in­tro­duced Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­ders with the idea be­ing to fight white-col­lar crime and mafia-like cor­rup­tion. These or­ders are served on any per­sons who are sus­pected of white col­lar crimes.”

Last month, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa in­structed the Jus­tice Min­istry to work ex­pe­di­tiously with the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s Of­fice to draft reg­u­la­tions to bring cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tors and money laun­der­ers to book.

The Head of State and Gov­ern­ment la­belled par­al­lel mar­ket ac­tiv­i­ties a na­tional se­cu­rity threat that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would not tol­er­ate.

Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa shares a lighter mo­ment with Dr Ediniah Mleya who had ear­lier par­tic­i­pated in the Mid­lands State Univer­sity (MSU) Kwekwe Law Cam­pus fundrais­ing golf and din­ner event held at Kwekwe Golf Club yes­ter­day. MSU plans to con­struct a $100 mil­lion cam­pus in Kwekwe as part of an ini­tia­tive to “bring the univer­sity to the peo­ple”. The Head of State and Gov­ern­ment do­nated $50 000, which will be pooled into the fund that will be used to con­struct the fa­cil­ity.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gag­waa­belled par­al­lel mar­ket ac­tiv­i­ties a na­tional se­cu­rity threat

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