Tuesday, 2 November 2021

RBZ LEAK : PROSECUTION CERTIFICATE GOES MISSING

A PROSECUTION authority certificate in the case of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials accused of leaking confidential information on de-dollarisation of the economy to the public has gone missing.

The issue was revealed yesterday when prosecutor Oscar Madhume told Harare magistrate Noel Mupeiwa that the prosecution certificate, which was signed by Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi, could not be found.

RBZ economists Smart Manda (44) and Philton Makena (40) are being accused of leaking a confidential document on de-dollarisation of the economy to unauthorised persons, resulting in it going viral on social media.

Madhume asked for postponement of the trial.

The duo is being charged with contravening section 60(1) of the RBZ Act Chapter 22:15, which stipulates preservation of secrecy by bank employees.

“We are asking for a postponement to another date. For the proceedings to start, there must be an authority from the prosecutor-general. All was done to secure the authority. Unfortunately, due to the movements of the docket, the authority was misplaced and we are running around to (locate) it. I would humbly request for this matter to be postponed to Tuesday November 9 subject to availability of the authority,” Madhume said.

But the lawyer representing one of the accused persons, Ashley Mugiya, opposed the postponement saying his client should be removed from remand.

“The accused persons have been on remand for a period exceeding one year. The State said they were ready for trial in December 2020. There must be a good cause for postponement.  There was time to make that authority available,” he said.

Mupeiwa, however, dismissed the application saying new developments in the case would allow the prosecution time to put its house in order.

The matter was postponed to November 9 for trial.

Manda is being represented by Mugiya, while Gift Chihuta is appearing on behalf of Makena.

It is alleged that in March last year, RBZ governor John Mangudya assigned John Mafararikwa, the director for economic policy and research, to work on a document titled De-dollarisation Roadmap, which would assist the Finance and Economic Development ministry in the de-dollarisation of the economy over a five-year period.

Mafararikwa, it is alleged, assigned Nebson Mupunga to head a team of chief economists comprising Samuel Tarinda, Getrude Machingura, Nicholas Masiyandima, Edmore Jaya, Douglas Mugwambi, Paul Mukoki, Tawanda Mubvuma, Manda and Tongai Tarubona to brainstorm and produce the document.

On April 15, Manda received the document from Mupunga via his central bank e-mail account, which is linked to his Gmail account.

Manda then converted the document to portable format, and unlawfully sent it via WhatsApp to Makena, who was part of the team.

Makena forwarded it to his cousin Bongani Zimuto, who also forwarded it to his superior Wonder Madyambudzi, a business development executive at Zimnat Life Assurance.  It went viral on different social media platforms.

The RBZ information communication technology (ICT) department then traced the movement of the document and screenshots to Manda’s email.

Makena’s phone was taken to the laboratory and the examination showed that the document was also forwarded to Zimuto whose phone was also screened and revealed he had received the document.

The cyber forensic report will be produced in court as an exhibit. Newsday

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