By Mary Taruvinga
Prosecutor-General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi has approached the High Court seeking an order to have former Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi’s top-of-the-range vehicle forfeited.
Hodzi made an application for civil forfeiture also targeted at former tourism ministry secretary, Margaret Sangaree and other top officials in the same ministry, Susana Kuhudzai and Aaron Mushoriwa’s vehicles saying the movable property was tainted and liable to state seizure.
Mzembi and the other four officials allegedly bought the cars using crime proceeds during his tenure as tourism minister.
“This is an application in terms of Section 79 and 80 of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act for the specified tainted motor vehicles,” said Hodzi in his application.
“I submit that the specified properties have been proven on a balance of probability to be tainted and liable to forfeiture.”
According to the court application, in 2011, Zimbabwe and Zambia won the bid to co-host the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference in August 2013.
Hodzi alleges that the government then assigned Mzembi who was the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry to come up with various ways to raise money for hosting the conference.
Mzembi engaged Makombe Kuhudzayi and Mushoriwa as consultants to carry out fund raising activities on behalf of the ministry.
The ministry’s mandate was to fund raise with local and international corporate companies, donors and financiers.
This led to the signing of a professional conference organiser (PCO) contract on May 15, 2012 between the ministry and the contractor valid for 24 months.
Kuhudzayi and Mushoriwa were signatories to the PCO contract.
Remuneration for consultants was based on a success fee between two and three percent depending on the value raised.
Mzembi was responsible for supervising the contract and consultants reported to him.
Kuhudzayi and Mushoriwa formed a consultancy company called Conventions Africa and Mzembi, using government letterheads wrote letters requesting donations.
According to Hodzi, corporates responded positively and deposited money into Kuhudzayi and Mushoriwa bank accounts. Mbada Diamonds donated US$815 000.
Using the money, the pair bought two Ford Ranger T6, double cabs for US$52 493, 00 and US$53 683 as well as a Ford Ranger double can for US$44 534.
The vehicles were to be used before and during the hosting of the UNWTO and they were registered in UNWTO trust which was not registered with the Registrar of Deeds.
It is further alleged that Sangarwe took possession of one of the Ford Ranger T6, ACU 6801 and did not surrender it after the conference.
When the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigated the matter, the vehicle was recovered and Sangarwe was charged.
Kuhudzayi took the other Ford Ranger T6, ACU 3707 contrary to government procedures. She sold the vehicle to Grey Hama. She was later arrested.
Mzembi took a Ford Ranger ACU 7946. In March 2013, he approached Mimosa Mine through the then chairman Winston Chitando who donated a Tata Xenon double cab, ACX 5409 for use at the conference.
Mushoriwa took possession of the vehicle.
Hodzi said the vehicles were all tainted.
The case is pending.