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Makamba arrested over forex deals


James Makamba JAMES MAKAMBA

Plot to kill Chiyangwa, claim

Chiyangwa arrested

Msika warns Chiyangwa

Chiyangwa threatens cop in court

Chiyangwa implicated in ENG scandal

Zanu PF bids to oust Msika

ENG directors charged with fraud

Banks face collapse

End of era for forex dealers

Gono new RBZ governor

Tea boy to national purse


By Staff Reporter
10/02/04

ZIMBABWE’S on-going political storm over a financial sector clean-up targeting top politicians and businessmen thickened Monday as Telecel chairman and top Zanu PF official James Makamba was arrested, charged with “externalising foreign currency”.

Makamba, a former Member of Parliament, becomes the second high-profile business and political figure to be arrested following a policy decision by new Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono to rid the financial sector of corruption and stem the decline of the dollar.

Showy Chinhoyi legislator and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa was sucked into the vortex of a US$66 million ENG Capital Asset Management scandal - the biggest in Zimbabwe’s history - after allegedly attempting to obstruct the course of justice by withholding police evidence.

He is also charged with perjury for allegedly misleading a court and contempt of court for threatening a policeman in court and refusing to withdraw the offending statements when instructed to do so by the magistrate.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Makamba was "picked up for questioning in connection with externalisation of foreign currency,” a reference to illegal foreign currency dealings on the once-thriving black market.

From early Monday morning, the country was buzzing with rumours about the hunt for Makamba after police issued an appeal for his whereabouts through state radio and television before Makamba surrendered himself later in the afternoon.

Makamba is a former Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation disc jockey and was in charge of the consortium that ran Zimbabwe’s short-lived private television station, Joy TV which folded in 2002 after the government refused to renew its licence.

He has long entertained ambitions to be Harare mayor. Despite winning Zanu PF primaries, he pulled out in the last elections citing business commitments. Previously, he failed to produce his O’ Level certificate, and was twice prevented from standing in 1996 and 1999 by Zanu PF’s decision making organ – the politburo.

President Robert Mugabe issued a warning to Makamba two weeks ago after he built a supermarket on an occupied farm in the Mazowe area without a council permit, or any approval for his business plan.

"We have people just building shops without authority. You should have the correct licence and proper registration. If you fall short of that then that business is illegal," Mugabe thundered.

Mugabe vowed to rid his party of corrupt officials, and in a Cabinet announced Monday, he appointed his long-time ally Didymus Mutasa to a newly created ministry that deals specifically with corruption.

"We will deal with them," said Mugabe. "We will not allow lawbreakers and corrupt characters to get away with their illegal activities. People should be honest and trustworthy. That is the issue we are trying to solve. No one is supposed to act unlawfully. We have to respect each other and respect the law so that we become a disciplined nation."

He added: "Right now there are companies which handle people’s money, but they sell the people’s money when it’s supposed to be used in a good way. These companies are using the money to buy US dollars, pounds and rands which they sell at high prices. This is what caused the shortage of money and prices to go up. It was the work of thieves."

Before Chiyangwa was arrested, similar warnings were issued by Vice President Joseph Msika who chastised the Chinhoyi MP for threatening a policeman.
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