Police nab six over ‘money laundering’

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SIX people from Mutare have been nabbed on allegations of using a mobile money platform to mop up foreign currency from the parallel market.
Simbarashe Charamba,Felix Tafadzwa Chikuse and their companies Family First Choice Supermarket and Bailey Charamba Investments were taken to court jointly charged with Vimbai Charamba, Rudo Charamba, Shumirai Charamba and Georgina Kabanda.

They were not asked to plead to allegations of money laundering when they appeared before Harare
regional magistrate Esthere Chivasa.

The State wants the six to be incarcerated, arguing they were behind the fluctuation of the exchange rate in the country using mobile money to buy hard currency on the parallel market.

This follows revelations that they had generated over $145 million which was distributed to 40 agent lines which were allegedly used to buy forex from the public.

The investigating officer Fabian Mutambiro described the six and the two companies as an organised crime
syndicate.

He said Bailey Charamba Investments was just registered, but never operated at a fixed place. The police said they
wanted to investigate what sort of business they were into to generate such an amount.

It is alleged that between January 1 and June 30 this year Simbarashe Charamba acting in connivance with
his co-accused manipulated the mobile money platform by registering a bulk payer agent line and a number of
agent lines which he used to facilitate the purchase of foreign currency from the general public.

Employees at Family First Choice Supermarket allegedly conducted transactions from the supermarket
office on specific direction by Charamba for them to buy foreign currency from the parallel market.

Allegations are that invoice books from the supermarket reflect US$3 153 317 was generated through the illicit deals. Allegations are that during the alleged period $145 754 628 was transacted through the bulk agent
line and redistributed to 40 different Bailey Charamba

Investments agent lines in order to hide the illicit origins of the money.

Chikuse and Georgina Kabanda as the directors of Bailey Charamba Investments received commission from Charamba monthly as the registered owners of the 40 agent lines which were used in facilitating the transactions.

The State alleges that their actions were in violation of the money laundering act. The accused would be in court today for bail ruling.

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