Tuesday 23 January 2024


A US$70 000 deal, which has gone sour and spilled into the courts, has lifted the lid on some shadowy deals, involving some money laundering cartels, dominated by kingpins in Harare’s retail sector which concentrates on the sale of clothes.

A number of small shops, which exclusively sell clothes, have emerged in the capital with many buildings being partitioned to make way for those shops.

Sources say the cartels in this booming retail sector are clandestinely moving millions of United States dollars out of Zimbabwe, with a number of couriers involved in the sophisticated operations.

The kingpins, the sources have revealed, appear to have contacts, especially at the Harare International Airport, who help them move the large sums of money without red flags being raised.

The law allows someone to leave with, at most US$10 000, without having to explain to authorities why the money was being taken out of the country.

However, according to the sources, the cartel has found ways to slip past security checks with their couriers carrying huge sums of money out of the country.

According to the case in court, Godwin Mutata, a Harare dealer, swindled someone of US$20 000 in a botched cash/swap deal.

Mutata was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi last week.

The court heard that in October last year, the complainant, who is not named in court papers but is known to H-Metro, was contacted by his sister.

The sister wanted to pre-order a vehicle in China, which was going for US$70 650, which could be discounted if payment was made within 72 hours.

Realising the urgency of the case, the complainant sought various channels to help the sister, who was in China.

It is the State’s case that on October 24, the complainant contacted Mutata, who told him he was traveling to China the same day.

Mutata, of Warren Park, claimed he had free funds in China and promised that he would hand over the funds to the sister upon receiving his money in Zimbabwe.

On October 24, the complainant gave Mutata US$70 650 in cash.

Mutata left for China the same day and upon arrival handed over US$50 650 to the sister instead of US$70 650.

The complainant made a follow-up with Mutata on the outstanding US$20 000 but he failed to account for it.

Mutata eventually became evasive and avoided the complainant’s calls which prompted him to file a police report.

Sources told H-Metro: “You will hear that there were sums of money which were lost in-transit, stories like money being lost in the luggage in places like Dubai.

“The footprints will tell you that these are money laundering rings, especially when it comes to those small shops which sell clothes here in Harare. Obviously, given it’s a sensitive issue, on the occasions things don’t go according to plan, many such cases are not reported because on one side the aggrieved party can find himself or herself having to face some very difficult questions from authorities.

“But, something is really going on down there and a lot of money is being moved from our country by these cartels.” H Metro


Post a Comment