NPA’s Money Laundering Prosecutions Raise Questions Amidst Scandals.
By Agencies -The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has claimed to be prosecuting money laundering offenses involving 100 individuals suspected of acquiring assets worth US$70 million through illicit financial dealings. This announcement follows a wave of skepticism, with the NPA’s credibility called into question due to recent events, including the GoldMafia scandal.
The suspicious claims were detailed in a government media report, stating that the NPA has initiated the process of confiscating the wealth of these individuals. This announcement coincides with Zimbabwe’s assumption of the presidency of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of Southern Africa (ARINSA), with the aim of enhancing the country’s ability to trace, freeze, and forfeit the proceeds of criminal activities.
NPA spokesperson Ms. Angeline Munyeriwa explained, “The NPA has been making and continues to make applications for unexplained wealth orders.” Currently, the NPA is handling 30 cases with assets involving US$20 million pending further investigation. Furthermore, they have filed 12 court applications for the forfeiture of assets valued at US$15.5 million.
Additionally, the NPA is pursuing 21 asset forfeiture cases, with the expectation of seizing properties worth US$10.8 million through the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU). They are also in the process of requesting international cooperation for the recovery of assets worth US$2.7 million, as well as investigating properties valued at US$3 million.
Ms. Munyeriwa noted that the NPA is currently handling 25 cases with preservation court orders for assets worth US$9.3 million. These preservation orders legally instruct individuals under investigation not to destroy property or alter any documents pertinent to the investigation.
Moreover, there are ongoing legal battles, including five appeals against forfeiture orders worth US$1.4 million and two appeals against the reinstatement of warrants of arrest at the Supreme Court. There is another pending application for the declaration of constitutional invalidity of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Civil Forfeiture Provisions, involving assets valued at US$250,000.
The Prosecutor-General has also filed an appeal against the release of exhibits worth US$300,000 at the High Court. In addition, there are ten interlocutory applications by defendants against preservation orders in the High Court, involving assets valued at US$4.7 million.
The NPA’s announcements have raised concerns about the effectiveness and transparency of their actions, particularly in light of recent scandals, such as the GoldMafia case, where bank accounts were swiftly unfrozen. The public and legal experts are closely scrutinizing these developments, which may have far-reaching implications for the fight against money laundering and asset recovery.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s assumption of the presidency of ARINSA has placed the country in a position of leadership. Over the next two years, Zimbabwe, through the NPA, is expected to work closely with other steering committee members in overseeing the administration of the network and setting annual priorities. This includes representing and promoting the network at various international events.
The presidency of ARINSA is a significant responsibility for Zimbabwe, with promises to uphold the agency’s objectives and push for effective collaboration among member states in the fight against cross-border financial crimes. However, the current cloud of skepticism surrounding the NPA’s actions will likely cast a shadow over the country’s new leadership role in this crucial area of law enforcement.