By A Correspondent- Former Croco Motors boss Joseph Matinyarare’s properties have been forfeited to the state after a court established that he acquired them using the proceeds of crime between 2016 and 2020. The exchange rate in 2016 was US$1:ZW$1 but it depreciated over time.
This was after Prosecutor-General (PG) Nelson Mutsonziwa filed an application for an order for civil forfeiture of property made in terms of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act. The property consists of two immovable and three motor vehicles.
The application for an order for the civil forfeiture of his house in Southlea Park suburb was however dismissed.
According to court documents, Matinyarare was a parts manager at Croco Holdings (Pvt) Ltd’s Graniteside branch, Harare.
The PG said Matinyarare engaged in conduct constituting or associated with serious criminal offences and, using the money obtained from such conduct, bought the property targeted for forfeiture.
The PG submitted that he specifically used money realised from the sale of stolen car parts. Matinyarare is already appearing before the magistrates’ court on a charge of fraud.
It is alleged that he collected spare car parts from Croco Motors’ group procurement department using a manual goods out note between September 2019 and September 2020 and, instead of entering the parts into the Croco Motors Graniteside stock, converted the same to his own use.
The allegations are that the stock is valued at US$306 851.80. It also is common cause that Matinyarare is again appearing before the same court on a charge of theft.
Allegations are that he stole motor vehicle spare parts belonging to his employer, between 1 January 2016 and September 2020. The value of the spare parts is given as ZW$103 656 448.03 of which ZW$8 850 605.05 worth of spare car parts is said to have been recovered. High Court judge Benjamin Chikowero said he was also convinced that Matinyarare had used the proceeds of crime to buy his properties.
“Despite his protestations, I am satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that while employed as Croco Motors’ parts manager Graniteside, Matinyarare, during the period in question, was involved in some kind of conduct constituting or associated with the theft of ZW$103 761 568.89 worth of motor vehicle spare parts belonging to his employer of which ZW$ 8 850 605 05 worth was recovered from him.
“I have seen the Forensic Audit Report prepared by Caleb Mutsumba, the external auditor. He lays out the basis for his factual findings.
“He explains why he concluded that it was Matinyarare who manipulated Croco Motors’ system to facilitate the theft of the motor vehicle spare parts (stock) in question,” said the judge.
The manipulation took the form of irregular “adjustments” of the stock in the system followed by the physical removal of such, hence the theft. The four factual findings made by the auditor were that there were deliberate “adjustments” of stock by Matinyarare as the identified “user” in the dealership system used by Croco Motors at the material time.
There were no business, professional, or occupational reasons for those adjustments. The adjustments of the stock were unauthorised and had the effect of writing off stock from the system.
No reasons were given on the more than 1 000 occasions that the stock was written off. The correspondence between physical stock and stock records indicated that what was removed from the system was correspondingly removed from the physical stock.
The calculations by the auditor established that Matinyarare caused Croco Motors a financial prejudice of ZW$103 761 568.89 as at 30 October 2020. This amount represents the value of the stolen stock.
Ruled the judge: “It is ordered that, the Toyota RAV 4X T4 Registration Number AA JOSTE, the Ford Registration number AFC 8278 and the IVECO Lorry 75E15 Flatbed Registration number AEX9419 be and are forfeited to the State.
“Matinyarare shall within the next forty-eight hours do complete and sign all such papers and documents to transfer ownership of the property mentioned in paragraph 1 of this order to which the Sheriff of Zimbabwe, his deputy or assistant shall do so.
“The third respondent (Registrar of motor vehicles) shall upon being called upon by the PG do all things and sign and complete all papers and documents necessary to register ownership of the property mentioned in paragraph 1 (Rav4 and Iveco) of this order in favour of the State.
“The undivided 2.3250% share being share number 6 in a certain piece of land situate in the district of Salisbury called Stand 2494 Arlington Township measuring 3.0772 hectares held under Certificate of Consolidated Title Number 3111/2017 dated 20 August 2017 be and is forfeited to the State.
“The first respondent (registrar of deeds) shall within the next forty-eight hours do all such things and sign and complete all papers and documents necessary to transfer title of the stand in favour of the State failing which the Sheriff of Zimbabwe, his deputy or assistant shall do so.
“The registrar of deeds shall upon being called upon by the PG do all such things and complete and sign all papers and documents necessary to transfer title the house in favour of the State,” ruled the judge.