Businessman ‘Cobra’ arrested for laundering $600 million

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By Mary Taruvinga

A LOCAL businessman Fidelis Chuma was weekend dragged to court on allegations of contravening the Exchange Control Act and Money laundering.

Chuma was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody awaiting his bail application.

The complainant is the state represented by Detective Inspector Shanga of CID Commercial Crimes Division Northern Region.

Chuma is the director of Chihowa Polishers Private and is commonly known as King Cobra.

According to the state, “during the period extending January 1 to June 2020, the accused manipulated the ecocash mobile money platform by registering a bulk payer agent line number 0788731943 and two agent lines 0776944361 and 0786947103 which he would use to facilitate the purchase of foreign currency from general public.

“Pursuant to the above arrangement and during the period stated above, accused transacted a total of $611 966 498,60 through the bulk agent line number 0788731943 ($361634498,00) and redistributed to his two agent lines 0776944361 ($148 102 874,36) and 0786947103 ($102238840,24) in order to disguise the illicit origins of the money,” read the state outline.

It is alleged that the accused conducted the transactions from his shop to buy foreign currency and cash from the public.

The accused actions were in violation of section 5 of the Exchange Control Act.

Using the proceeds of crime the accused bought a business stand in Budiriro 2 in Harare.

It is alleged that he is currently building a shopping complex.

The place is commonly referred to as Blue Roof.