Friday, June 18, 2021

DCEC follows Guma, Olopeng money trail to Zimbabwe

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is extending investigations against Youth Sports and Culture Minister Thapelo Olopeng and Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma to Zimbabwe.

 

The DCEC is accusing Olopeng, Moyo and Chinese company Synohydro of bribery and money laundering among other offences.

 

 Court documents passed to Sunday Standard show that two DCEC officers travelled to Zimbabwe from Gaborone to Harare between 11 July and 18 July as part of their investigations into allegations that Guma and Olopeng could be involved in money laundering.

 

A DCEC senior assistant director states in his founding affidavit that he has since travelled to gather information and investigations into the offences alleged as some of the monies paid from the account of 1st Respondent (company called IRB Transport owned by Guma) were paid to a company in Zimbabwe for an amount P12 601 857.14 (twelve million six hundred and one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven Pula fourteen thebe).

 

The officer believes that a suspected case of bribery or corruption does exist after he had carried out his investigation into a tender for the Kariba South Power Extension which was awarded by the Zimbabwe States Procurement Board as far back as 2012.

 

The DCEC officer states that it remains unexplained what Guma’s company was paid for with respect to the cumulative amount in excess of P25 million. “As the investigator I reasonably believe that the amount paid into account (held by Guma’s company) as P24 826 492.62 (twenty four million eight hundred and twenty six four hundred and ninety two Pula and sixty two Thebe) is proceeds of the offence alleged and by extension an monies paid to another account belonging to another is likewise tainted. Olopeng has since stated in his affidavit that he is no longer a director in a joint company with Guma.

 

The DCEC officer said that his investigations also stated that payment into the account held by Olopeng reveals a further reasonable belief of the commission of another confiscation offence of uttering a false document and even money laundering contrary to Section 47 of the Proceeds and Instrument of Crime Act against IRB Transport and Olopeng which involves proceeds of crime or concealing, disguising, transferring or disposing money brought into Botswana arising or derived from the proceed of crime.

 

The investigating officer further states that they approached the Village Magistrate Court to freeze the account of IRB Botswana as instrument or proceeds of crime.

 

According to the DCEC, Guma is unable to justify what exactly he was paid for with respect to the amount, which is in excess of P25million.

 

“The invoices were paid long after the purported fact had happened; the fact is that the contract or award was made in 2012 for the Kariba South Extension project in Zimbabwe, so the purports of the agreement were long achieved before it was allegedly signed.”

DECE also accuses Guma of fabricating invoices as they were paid more than a year and eight months later and not serialised. Investigations from the DCEC also indicate that minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Olopeng cannot distance himself from the case on the basis that he sold his shares.

 

On Olopeng’s argument that he has since resigned from his joint company with Guma, the DCEC sates that the Minister resigned as a director and not as a shareholder.

 

“It is not clear which office Olopeng is resigning from, he only resigned as a director of Leasing Services (their joint company) and not as a shareholder,” argues the corruption busting agency.

 

The DCEC investigator also argues that his investigations show that the annual return forms with respect to Guma and Olopeng’s company and the shares the two filed for the years 2011 and 2012 filed on May 12, 2012 revealed that both Guma and Olopeng had each P1. 00 share respectively with 2998 at P1.00 each remaining unpaid. No share of 1500 at P1.00 each existed and are or were owned by the two shareholders at the time they were taken to court.

 

 Guma in his affidavit had told the court on December 10, 2014 Olopeng resigned from their joint company, and sold 1500 shares valued at P3, 433, 072.79. This payment was made on December 11, 2014.

Guma further explained that the monies in his account which are part of DCEC investigations are from a tender Sinohydro engaged him.

 

According to the legislator in 2013 Sinohydro, engaged IRB Transport for the construction of Kariba South Power Extension Project.

 

It is Guma’s argument that on January 20, 2013 Sinohydro transferred U$3, 200, 000 to his transport company. On March 30, 2014, Guma explained, his company issued the Chinese construction company an invoice of P45, 126, 190.

Another invoice was issued on August 18, 2014 valued at P153 029. Sinohydro paid Guma’s company an amount of U$3, 153, 029.94 on November 28, 2014.

 

 

While no charges have been laid against the respondents , DPP has since  filed  application to freeze the accounts of Olopeng and IRB Transport.

IRB Transport is cited as first respondent, with Olopeng and Standard Chartered Bank Botswana as the second and third respectively.

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