Zvikomborero Parafini

NEVILLE Mutsvangwa has the propensity to flee and sustain a livelihood outside the country if he is released on bail, a magistrate ruled yesterday as he sent him back to remand prison.

Mutsvangwa, who was arrested last week, had his bail application thrown out yesterday by magistrate Dennis Mangosi.

He appeared alongside his accomplices — Ellis Majachani and Simbarashe Tichingana — accused of money laundering and trading in foreign currency.

Additionally, he is being charged with violating the Telecommunications Act.

Magistrate Mangosi said there is a high risk of abscondment considering Mutsvangwa hid from the police when they raided his home.

The magistrate said there is evidence that Mutsvangwa may have been dealing in foreign currency as the police found 28 bank cards from different countries.

In his defence, Mutsvangwa said he has free funds outside the country which he uses to buy things for people who in turn give him cash.

In motivating the court to grant him bail, Mutsvangwa, through his lawyer Josephine Sande Chimombe, told the court that he hid from the police after one of them threatened to shoot him and not that he was attempting to flee arrest as alleged.

The State is alleging that during a period extending from January 1, 2019 to May 8, 2024, the trio formed Mumba Money Transfer Services, without a licence, in violation of the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act and Exchange Control Act.

They advertised on the internet directing clients to their offices in Harare.

The trio allegedly employed a combination of electronic funds transfers and physical cash for their unlawful transactions, leveraging foreign bank accounts to obfuscate their activities.

The Police recovered four smartphones, 45 sim cards, four computers, one Point Of Sale (POS) machine, 28 debit cards (including 15 VISA cards issued by foreign banks), three money counters and a register of transactions and US$3 890 cash.

Thomas Chanakira appeared for the State.

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