Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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RBZ official contradicts state in Mliswa case

RBZ official contradicts state in Mliswa case

28 July, 2010 11:52:00

HARARE – A Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) senior official has denied making
a report against businessman Temba Mliswa, who stands accused of swindling
the central bank of US$3,5 million, as the case took a new twist at the
magistrate’s court in Harare on Wednesday.
RBZ’s  senior division chief (exchange control) Morris Mpofu was summoned to
court after magistrate Don Ndirowei ruled that he had to testify despite
opposition by the state and the police who claimed that he was a “crucial
witness” in the matter.

But Mpofu brought a new twist to the case, claiming that he had nothing to
do with the case as claimed by investigating officer, Samuel Masvokweni
under oath.

When quizzed by defence lawyer, Charles Chinyama if he was the one who made
the criminal report against Mliswa,  Mpofu said: “I would say he (police
officer) received a report from RBZ, not me.

“Regarding the Memorandum of Deposit (MOD) facility and the case in
question, I am not in a position to comment. I am not the RBZ representative
in the case,” he said leaving the court stunned given that the investigating
officer had claimed under cross examination that Mpofu had made the report.

Mpofu said the RBZ had recently appointed one Tawengwa Chitauro as head
responsible for MOD facilities and he was the best person to testify on the

He could not comment on claims made by Mliswa’s lawyer that there were 29
more companies with the same predicament as Saltlakes but they were not
being prosecuted.

The RBZ official also refused to respond on whether the case was a criminal
or a civil matter.

Under-cross examination by prosecutor, Mrs Phyllis Zvenyika, Mpofu said he
was of no relevance to the court proceedings involving Mliswa leading to the
defence lawyers claiming that the State witness was “under pressure and fear
to an extent he could not say anything”.

“It is surprising that the State is now saying the RBZ official is of no
relevance to the State, yet last week they were refusing to call him to
testify claiming that he was a crucial witness,” said Mliswa’s lawyer.

Chinyama then submitted that given the circumstances, Mliswa was a suitable
candidate for bail and asked the court to grant an order barring the police
from arresting him on old cases. He said Mliswa must be invited to court by
way of summons.

The magistrate set the bail ruling to today.

According to the state case, RBZ and Saltlakes agreed to a memorandum of
deposit facility of US$6,5 million, which Saltlakes was expected to pay back
to the RBZ once they processed and exported tobacco by December 31, 2008.

The State says in May last year, Saltlakes misrepresented to RBZ that their
tobacco had been stolen and that the other lot had been damaged by water.

RBZ and Saltlakes then agreed that the former would pay the central bank
US$3,5 million, to be realised from the sale of the remaining tobacco to

The State says Mliswa did not disclose to the RBZ that Savanna was only
going to facilitate the sale of the tobacco in question. – Daily News


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