Graft accused RBZ boss protests lethargic trial

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By Mary Taruvinga

ONE of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s top bankers who landed in the dock last year, few months after activist Acie Lumumba torched a storm around his alleged illegal forex dealings, has pleaded with a Harare magistrate to relieve him of the trouble of continuously comig to court without meaningful progress to his trial.

Mirirai Chiremba, the director of the RBZ’s financial intelligence unit, is charged with criminal abuse of office.

He notified a Harare court that he was being continuously remanded without meaningful progress to his trial.

“The state is hereby put on notice. The accused will apply against further remand if not given trial date on next remand,” said his lawyer.

Chiremba is on $6 000 bail and was arrested in December last year.

The charges relate to allegations he approved bank withdrawal limit increases for a gold dealer without following procedure.

According to the State, Suzan General Trading opened an NMB corporate account at the bank’s Borrowdale branch on October 13, 2017.

The account was meant to facilitate payments by RBZ subsidiary Fidelity Printers and Refiners for gold deliveries by the company.

At the material time, the corporate withdrawal limit was $10,000 per day.

Court heard that on October 27, 2017, Suzan General Trading submitted an application at NMB seeking review of its daily withdrawal limit from $10,000 to $30,000.

The bank carried out due diligence to determine justification for the upward review before referring the application to RBZ’s financial intelligence unit for processing.

The application was reportedly approved by Chiremba on November 3 of the same year.

Prosecutors said the withdrawals in question were dependent on US dollar deposits made by Suzan General Trading into the same account.

“On February 23 2018, Suzan General Trading tendered another application for upward review of their company’s daily withdrawal limit from $30,000 to $95,000 purportedly due to business expansion.

“NMB did due diligence before referring the letter to RBZ on behalf of the client,” said the prosecutors.

Again, on in August this year, the company sought another upward review to $195,000 and followed the usual process.

However, while the application was still undergoing review process by NMB, Chiremba allegedly approved the application even though the matter had yet to be sent to RBZ’s financial intelligence unit.

It is State’s case that Chiremba acted contrary and inconsistent to his duties as a public officer by reviewing the company’s daily cash withdrawal limit from $95,000 to $195,000 without following procedure.

Vongai Muchuchuti presided over the case and Zivania Macharaga prosecuted.