By Freeman Razemba
Former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) chief executive Frank Chitukutuku has made his first attempt at explaining how he acquired massive wealth valued at over US$20 million following an order compelling him to do so.
Chitukutuku, who is under investigation for fraud, was in June given a 30-day ultimatum to give an account of how he acquired an array of immovable and movable assets, amid suspicion he obtained them corruptly.
Under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (2013), authorities are empowered to scrutinise individuals’ wealth for the purposes of arresting crimes such as corruption and money laundering.
Chitukutuku was ordered to submit a detailed statement to the head of Asset Forfeiture Unit within 30 days.
High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere also ordered the freeze of Chitukutuku’s assets pending finalisation of the criminal case.
Last week, police confirmed Chitukutuku complied with the order and that his docket was now being scrutinised by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
A docket, according to the police, has since been compiled and is now at the NPA for scrutiny as investigations continue.
Through the statement submitted to the police, Chitukutuku explained how he acquired the immovable and movable assets.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed receipt of a statement from him.
“We can confirm that we received the statement and we are now looking into the issue. He (Chitukutuku) must wait for the due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.
Sources close to the investigations also told The Herald that Chitukutuku recently gave a detailed statement to the head of the police’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) within a month.
This was after the State had claimed that Chitukutuku may have acquired his property through criminal activities, hence the need to have the same frozen.
The decision was made following an ex-parte application by Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi for an unexplained wealth and asset freezing order in terms of Section 37B as read with Section 37H of Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (Chapter 9:24) and Exchange Control Act) Regulations, 2018 (Statutory Instrument 246 of 2018).
Justice Ndewere ruled in favour of the State and barred any interested parties from dealing, in any way, with the property in question.
The order was issued after convincing arguments by the prosecution team led by chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura.
Mr Mutangadura heads the asset forfeiture unit at the NPA.
Chitukutuku is said to have acquired 10 motor vehicles between September 2013 and April last year.
These vehicles include two Mazda T35 trucks, a Hino Dutro truck, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Prado, Nissan NP200, Range Rover, Hino Ranger and a Land Rover Discovery.
Sometime in 2011, Chitukutuku reportedly acquired residential properties namely: Property measuring 4 048 square metres held under Deed of Transfer 3232/11 situated at Lot 1 of Lot 3 of Lot 56A Borrowdale Estate, Harare and another one measuring 8 853 square metres held under Deed of Transfer 3885/11 situated at Lot 3 of Subdivision C of Subdivision B of Subdivision D of Nthaba of Glen Lorne.
The State also claims Chitukutuku built or acquired a multi-million dollar thatched precast-walled house at the top of a mountain at Belmont Farm, Goromonzi, adding he also has six state-of-the-art fowl runs, five tractors, a 10-tonne UD truck, 4 x 200-litre PVC water tanks, as well as several structures at the farm.
Apart from a long list of expensive properties, Chitukutuku is also said to be the owner of two renowned companies, Farm Pride (Private) Limited situated at 49 Kent Road, Chisipite, Harare and an insurance company, Champions Insurance, which boasts of assets estimated at over US$15 million.
According to the State, Chitukutuku acquired the properties at a time he was lawfully earning a combined $8 500 from Zinara as well as his farming activities. The Herald