Neville Mutsvangwa appears in court, slapped with fresh charges for using unlicensed Starlink services

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By Mary Taruvinga

Neville Mutsvangwa has been hit with three more charges on top of Contravering Section 14(1) of the Bank use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act Chapter.

He now faces a charge of dealing in foreign currency and money laundering as well a seperate case of breaching telecommunication regulations after he was found in posession of an unlicensed Starlink router.

It is alleged that Mutsvangwa was difficult to arrest as he blocked entry to his premises thrice before he was found hiding behind a rubbish pile in his yard.

In the first counts, he is jointly charged with Simbarashe Tichingana and Ellis Majachani and in the case of breaching the Telecommunications Act, he is charged alone.

According to the State, sometime in May 2024, CID Commercial Crimes Division Northern Region received information which they processed into intelligence.

The Intelligence indicated that Mumba Money Transfer, the unregistered company owned and founded by Mutsvangwa was offering services as a money transfer agent and dealing in currency.

“Detectives actioned the intelligence and unearthed that, the accused operates from number 02 Hughson Wynd, Mt Pleasant, Harare accused 2’s place of residence as well as at their office situated at number San Fernando Court Corner Fifth and Five Avenue, where clients collect or send hard cash between South Africa, Zambia, other countries and Zimbabwe,” reads court papers.

The court heard on 08 May 2024 detectives were divided into two teams, one visited number 02 Hughson Wynd, Mt Pleasant, where Mutsvangwa resides.

Upon arriving detectives identified themselves and negotiated entry.

However, Mutsvangwa denied police entry to search citing that they were in civilian attire hence were not genuine officers despite the introductions made.

Tichingana then arrived at the scene and upon his arrival he was interviewed and he misrepresented that he was a neighbour with the intention to see what was going on.

A search was done on Tichingana and his phone was recovered which showed that it contains some transactions pertaining to Mutsvangwa’s Mumba Money shadow company leading to his arrest.

According to the police, the refusal of entry by Mutsvangwa prompted the detectives to seek help from ZRP Marlborough.

Despite being in the company of a police officer in uniform they were further denied access.

“They then further teamed up with the Officer in Charge ZRP Marlborough who was in uniform but were again denied entry,” the court heard.

As a result police forced entry into Mutsvangwa’s premises by cutting the electric fence and scaling the gate.

It is alleged that while inside the house a search was conducted in an effort to arrest Mutsvangwa but they could not locate him.

“Another thorough search was conducted throughout the whole yard leading to the arrest of Mutsvangwa who was hiding in-between a security wall and some sacks stashed with some waste materials.

“Upon his arrest the police recovered Samsung 522 Ultra cellphone IMEI 350272257009438, Galaxy 2 fold 4 cellphone IMEI 351787742200247 with a South African line, a Galaxy S24 Liltra cellphone IMEI RSCX15WYZW with a South African line and an HP laptop core i7.

The police also recovered 42 STM Cards for Next Cellular, Urovo Point of Sale Machine, 119 Mumba Money business cards and 28 debit cards which he uses.

The other team of detectives simultaneously visited Mumba Money Office situated at number 03 San Fernando Court Corner Fifth and Five Avenue and carried out observations. They saw clients getting into the office requesting for money transfer services.

The computers of the accused were in use and displaying these illegal transactions.

They arrested Majachani and upon her arrest, live forensics were done and the items suspected to have been used to commit offences were recovered from the offices.

These included an Acer Aspire C22 Core i3, Acer Aspire C22 Core i3 among other things.

They also recovered cash amounting to US$ 3 890-00.

The police also recovered a register of the transactions with particulars of witnesses and their signatures they appended when they collected funds from the accused’s office.

Further investigations done then revealed that the accused persons would periodically proceed to transfer the monies they would have obtained via their illegal enterprise to South African accounts by way of electronic transfers in a bid to launder the money.

Contravening the Telecommunications Act

On the 9th day of May 2024, the police received information to the effect that Mutsvangwa was using star link equipment for communication.

Detectives reacted to the information and unearthed that the accused possesses and operates a star link router for Internet services at his place of residence.

“On 09 May 2024 detectives proceeded to house number 02 Hughson Wyrid, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, in the company of accused person and upon searching the accused house police detectives found a star link router installed and was already in use,” the court heard.