BCCW saga: ED asked to step in

BULAWAYO - A former employee of Bulk Cash and Carry Wholesale (BCCW) involved in a dispute with his employers has petitioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to launch a probe into alleged cases of externalisation at the firm.

The allegations, constitute a serious crime in Zimbabwe under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (Chapter 9:24).

Oga Chafausipo, 51, worked at BCCW as operations manager before he was suspended from the company early this year.

Previously, he implicated former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko and war veteran George Mlala in his dispute with BCCW.

In his letter to Mnangagwa, Chafausipo who had been employed by the company for 16 years, asked his office to look in the allegations he raised in an affidavit he deposed with the police which contained allegations of externalisation against BCCW director, Imran Shahzad.

“My message to the new president is that innocent Zimbabweans have been suffering because of a few greedy and corrupt elements in the country.

“Ever since I raised all these allegations they at least should have been taken to court to prove their innocence.

“The police have failed to handle this matter, I am willing to provide names of all the officers who were involved if need be and possibly be prosecuted and fired,” Chafausipo said.

Chafausipo’s petition comes as Mnangagwa has issued a three-month amnesty to all individuals and corporates that externalised money to repatriate it back failure of which they would be prosecuted.

Previously, Chafausipo claimed that Mphoko and Mlala were protecting Shahzad from prosecution.

Mphoko was expelled from both government and Zanu PF following the fall of former president Robert Mugabe last month.

He temporarily stayed in Botswana at the height of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces-led Operation Restore Legacy before he returned home last Friday.

“The departure of Mphoko and Mlala has left Imran exposed.

“Now that the politicians have been removed from the picture we want the real truth to come out and these people brought to book in the courts,” said Chafausipo.

In his signed affidavit submitted to investigating officers at Bulawayo Central Headquarters on February 17, 2017, Chafausipo made serious allegations of externalisation against BCCW, which is in the business of repackaging basic commodities such as rice, flour and cooking oil before reselling them to retailers in Zimbabwe’s second city.

He claimed the company, which dismissed the allegations in their entirety when the Daily News first broke the story, is involved in externalisation of funds, smuggling of goods, tax evasion and sale of substandard or expired goods.

Police confirmed to the Daily News this year that they had received an affidavit from Chafausipo and were investigating his allegations.

“The matter is still under investigation. It is being handled by the fraud department. The police need to be thorough in their investigations as we need to build a case that is beyond reasonable doubt.

“We heard the Pakistani (businessman) was out of the country but the investigations are continuing. Investigations take time; when you investigate you need to be smart (about) the areas to get information. And we will also be expecting Chafausipo to present himself to the police,” ZRP spokesperson Charity Charamba told the Daily News then.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Precious Simango, also confirmed receiving the affidavit from Chafausipo in February although he could not give details.

“I can confirm that we received the affidavit but unfortunately, I cannot give you details,” Simango said.

Chafausipo, who alleged to have been suspended from BCCW after he questioned why his salary had been cut, alleged, however, that he witnessed firsthand on two separate occasions how over $8 million was separately externalised.

“...I had a trip to Botswana with...on 14/10/14 on the pretext that we were travelling for business . . . while at the border, I was shocked to see the guy declaring $4 million which was stashed in clothes that were in a monarch,” he claimed.

Chafausipo further claimed that in November 2014 and February 2016, using the same modus operandi they took out of the country $2,7 million and $2 million respectively, the money which was said to be then banked at an Islamic financial institution.

“The company has been ably assisted to continue its illicit activities after successfully recruiting some government officials into the play,” Chafausipo said, while giving names of officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Criminal Investigations Department officials.

Shahzad dismissed the allegations which he said had been made out of malice by a jilted employee.

He said he had lodged a complaint for criminal defamation against Chafausipo.

“He is a bitter man after he lost his job. These are all lies. I have cases against him that I have since opened with the police. I opened a criminal defamation (case) against him two months ago with the police fraud section,” Shahzad told the Daily News when it first reported on the allegations.

“It’s all a joke. Honestly, how can someone carry all that kind of money as he claims? If so, what mode of transport can one use to carry such an amount of money, it’s never easy.

“Besides, do you think Botswana will allow me to carry all that money he is talking about? That’s impossible.

“But anyway, since he is bitter he is just doing all that to soil my image and my business that is why I have decided to make it a police case so that they can deal with him,” he added.

Former War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube was the first to make the sensational claims against Mlala at the time he was still minister.

Dube then, accused Mlala of working with an unnamed Pakistani businessman to externalise foreign currency and that he had evidence to support his claims.

Mlala dismissed the allegations.

“I have heard of such nonsense and I have since instructed my lawyers to attend to those allegations.

“If Chafausipo is the one who is raising such allegations in an affidavit that he has signed himself mentioning my name in it, so it means I also have to include his name on the list of those who should face the lawsuit that is being prepared by my lawyers,” Mlala said then.

“Those are just baseless and misleading allegations but let’s leave it to the courts.”