Sunday 22 October 2023


MORE than 100 people suspected of having illegally acquired assets worth US$70 million through money laundering and other illicit financial deals are under investigation, with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) having started the process of confiscating their wealth.

This comes as Zimbabwe last week assumed the presidency of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of Southern Africa (ARINSA).

The development is expected to enhance the country’s ability to identify, trace, freeze and forfeit proceeds of crime.

Said NPA spokesperson Ms Angeline Munyeriwa: “The NPA has been making and continues to make applications for unexplained wealth orders.”

Currently, there are 30 cases where “assets involving US$20 million are pending further investigations”, while 12 court applications for forfeiture of assets valued at US$15,5 million have been filed.

In addition, the NPA also has 21 asset forfeiture cases, where they expect to seize properties worth US$10,8 million through the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

A request for international cooperation for recovery of assets worth US$2,7 million is underway, as well as investigations into properties valued at US$3 million.

NPA, Ms Munyeriwa said, was handling 25 cases with preservation court orders for assets worth US$9,3 million.

A preservation order is a legal document instructing the recipient (person under investigations) not to destroy property, alter or delete any documents helpful to the sender.

She added: “Five appeals against forfeiture orders worth US$1,4 million and two appeals against reinstatement of warrant of arrest are filed at the Supreme Court.

“There is another application for declaration of constitutional invalidity of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Civil Forfeiture Provisions, which is pending at the Constitutional Court.

“Assets involved in the Constitutional Court case involve US$250 000.”

Further, the NPA said the Prosecutor-General filed an appeal against the release of exhibits worth US$300 000 at the High Court.

“There are 10 interlocutory applications by defendants against preservation orders in the High Court. Assets involved are valued at US$4,7 million.”

There is also a request for mutual legal assistance for repatriation of a helicopter worth US$1,4 million.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe assumed the presidency of ARINSA after taking over from Mauritius.

During its two-year tenure, the country, through the NPA, is expected to work with other steering committee members in overseeing the administration of the network, including setting annual priorities based on the needs of member states.

It is also expected to represent and promote the network in meetings, conferences and other events where ARINSA would be invited.

In his acceptance speech, AFU head Mr Chris Mutangadura, who is now ARINSA’s president, undertook to uphold the agency’s objectives.

“My vision for the organisation is pivoted on the understanding that Zimbabwe is inheriting an organisation with functional and existing systems for which we have always been part of,” he said.

“We do not want to instil a culture of waiting and seeing how several leadership regimes of ARINSA are able to steer this ship during their various tenures before we suggest what is good for member states.” Sunday Mail


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