Saturday, October 16, 2021

DCEC wants Malawian billionaire to account for millions drawn from Stanbic bank account

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) this week said that it is still trying to unravel the nature of business a Malawi South Africa-based businessman is involved in and reasons for transporting millions of US Dollars in a car into Botswana. The DCEC also want Simbi Phiri and his company Khato Civils to “account for six million Pula and how it was used up.” This week Phiri approached the Lobatse High Court demanding access to his account held with Stanbic Bank Botswana saying he intends to use it for  legal service bills, accounting services, salaries and wages and their operations of his business in Botswana. But in court papers, the DECE accuses Simbi Phiri and his company Khato Civils of “not being candid with the court as to the nature of business they are involved in.” In his replying affidavit, DCEC investigator Mompoloki Rapulane said whereas Phiri and his company “aver that they have certain expenses which they have to meet, DCEC and Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) deny that such expenses have been necessarily incurred (if at all expenses are being incurred) in the course of any identifiable and legitimate business.” The DCEC want Phiri to explain when the works or project (if any) commenced, the client for whose benefit the works are being carried out has not been spelled out. The DCEC also states that there has not been any indication as to what work or business is being carried out adding that there is “no positive averment and identification of the business being done.” According the DCEC, there is only an allegation of expenses being incurred with no corresponding output of what is being done. “That the applicants (Phiri and Khato Civils) need not have funds in the jurisdiction of the court to finance its operations and as they have demonstrated in previous proceedings, that they are capable of bringing money into the jurisdiction from outside the jurisdiction of this court,” said Rapulane. He said Phiri and his company also need to show that the expenses incurred are reasonable and necessary for the business adding that they do not have any source from which they can raise finance. Rapulane said Phiri and his company also need to show that there is no property which is not subject to restraint from which they can raise finance for their alleged business and legal expenses. The DCEC and the DPP also denied that they are aware of anything about Phiri and his company’s service provider bills and that all the alleged costs and expenses including fuel, oils and wage bills. Phiri argued that his company in Botswana has to pay among others Botswana Power Corporation and Water Utilities monthly bills.   On accusations by Simbi Phiri that DCEC and DPP have not been available to discuss some issues relating to the case, Rapulane says that “the real stumbling block to any discussion has been the failure to account by the Applicants for money in its possession.” “It must be noted that the Respondent (DPP) called upon the Applicants (Simbi Phiri and Khato Civils) to make available  a break-down of how the amount of P6 000, 000 was used up,” he said. He said this is the amount that the applicants unilaterally transferred Tengo Rubadiri’s trust account pending the hearing of the appeal and without consulting the DPP who was and remains the interested party in the restrained money. “To this day, save to say that the aforesaid money has been used, neither the Applicants nor their lawyer has given a break-down as requested but only talk(s) about what they are likely to incur as expenses in the future,” said Rapulane. He said there is no explanation of what the money from the Tengo Rubadiri’s account to have been expended on and that the amount remains in the possession of the trust account. In his founding affidavit, Phiri states that monthly salaries and wages for all employees of Khato Civils Botswana amounts to P175 000 00 adding that expenses for diesel and oils for a plant amount to P116 000 00. He also stated that he intends to pay his attorneys money amounting to P1 500 000. 00 and tax due to Botswana Revenue Service whish stands at P60 000. He said there are ongoing business transactions that are at an advanced stage in discussion and implementation which will require One million Seven hundred and ninety five thousands Pula. “There are presently no funds available to the Applicants for the ordinary business obligations other than those under the restraining order; all other funds having been disbursed in the normal course of business of the Applicants,” said Phiri. He added that “On an average, I submit that the sum of One million Seven hundred  and ninety five thousands Pula per month should be made available whilst investigations are ongoing which sum will be revised from time to time as needs be.”

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