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Fishrot accused back in court

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Fishrot accused back in court

News - National | 2020-08-31

by Werner Menges

FORMER ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala and the four men charged with them in the Fishrot corruption case are due to return to the Windhoek Magistrate's Court at the end of this week, following the latest postponement of their case on Friday.

The case was postponed for a week after lawyers representing the six accused objected to magistrate Alweendo Venatius deciding a request by the state for a longer postponement. Venatius last year issued search warrants used by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in its investigation of the matter.

Also on Friday, one of the co-accused of Esau and Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, a police reservist, Kuutondokwa Kokule, and a Windhoek resident, Jason Iyambo, were informed that the prosecutor general has decided to arraign them in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on charges of corruptly giving gratification, alternatively bribery, and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

The charges are based on allegations that they tried to bribe an ACC officer in January in an attempt to get him to hand evidence seized by the ACC – bank cards issued to Hatuikulipi and a handwritten document – to them.

Hatuikulipi, Kokule and Iyambo are due to appear in the court again on Wednesday to have dates set for their trial.

Esau, Shanghala, Hatuikulipi, Esau's son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo are charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with the use of Namibian fishing quotas allocated under a fisheries cooperation agreement between Namibia and Angola.

They are alleged to have received corrupt payments of more than N$103 million from two Icelandic-owned companies allowed to exploit fishing quotas allocated under the fisheries cooperation agreement with Angola.

Esau, Shanghala, James and Tamson Hatuikulipi, Mwatelulo and the former chief executive of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), Mike Nghipunya, are also scheduled to appear in court on Friday in the case in which they are charged over alleged corruption with the use of fishing quotas allocated to Fishcor and  made available to Icelandic-owned companies under quota usage agreements.

In that case, the six accused are charged with having diverted N$75,6 million from Fishcor to themselves or entities of their choice between August 2014 and December 2019.

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Mozambique: London hidden debts trial may call Presidente Filipe Nyusi

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Mozambique: London hidden debts trial may call Presidente Filipe Nyusi


Credit Suisse is threatening to call the president of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, in the trial opposing the investment bank to the African state in the High Court of London in the case of ‘hidden debts’, due to be heard next year.

In a document submitted to the court, Credit Suisse admits adding Nyusi to the case as a defendant “to account for his irregularities.

The bank’s lawyers have asked the Mozambican authorities, in a letter dated 11 May, to confirm that the head of state is not claiming immunity in this case, but by July had not received a reply.  

The Attorney General’s Office of Mozambique initiated this case in the British courts to try to cancel the debt of $622 million (552.6 million euros) of the state-owned company Proindicus to Credit Suisse and to demand compensation to cover all losses resulting from the ‘hidden debt’ scandal.

At stake are the ‘hidden debts’ of the Mozambican state of around $2 billion (€1.8 billion) contracted between 2013 and 2014 in the form of credit from the British subsidiaries of the investment banks Credit Suisse and VTB on behalf of the Mozambican state companies Proindicus, Ematum and MAM.

The deal accentuated a public financial crisis and led Mozambique to default on payments to international creditors.

If Credit Suisse is found guilty, President Nyusi may be liable to pay a “compensation or contribution”, the bank said in the updated defence argument deposited in court at the beginning of July. 

The basis for the potential liability is a reference to a million-dollar payment made in 2014 by Privinvest to a company established in the United Arab Emirates with the references ‘Nys’, ‘New man’, ‘Nuy’ or ‘New guy’, which the bank’s lawyers suggest would be Nyusi, minister of defence at the time, because of the resemblance to the name.

Another indication is the testimony of Lebanese businessman Jean Boustani during a trial in the United States of America linked to the ‘hidden debts’ case, alleging that he had set aside $6 million to finance Nyusi’s election campaign.

Boustani, accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of conspiracies to commit transfer fraud, securities fraud and money laundering, was found not guilty.

Credit Suisse also attributes a “substantive role of President Nyusi in the consideration and approval of Proindicus and Ematum transactions” and that, assuming payments were made to other members and officials of the government, “payments to him would be necessary for the transactions to occur.

The bank’s attorneys claim that if it is actually proven that the deal was illicit, as the complaint alleges, “President Nyusi participated in it through (at least) alleged acceptance of bribery and violation of the duties of Mozambican law,” and may be “responsible as a co-conspirator.

Last week it was learned that the former President Armando Guebuza has been called in the case as a relevant person to help clarify the case.

On the ‘Third Parties’ list are Armando Ndambi Guebuza, his eldest son, Gregório Leão, the former director of the State Information and Security Services (SISE), António Carlos do Rosário, Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang and Isaltina Lucas, the former national director of the Mozambican Treasury.

The court also intends to hear Teófilo Nhangumele and Bruno Langa, two people close to Armando Ndambi Guebuza.

With the exception of Armando Guebuza and Isaltina Lucas, all the personalities that the High Court of Justice in London intends to hear are being held in Mozambique accused of involvement in the ‘hidden debt’ scandal.

Iskandar Safa, owner of Privinvest, has also been referred to in the case as an assistant.

The trial in the Commercial Court of the London High Court is scheduled to begin in 2021.

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The scandal that kept ex-TRA boss Kitilya behind bars for 4 years

by Kudzai Chinoda -

The scandal that kept ex-TRA boss Kitilya behind bars for 4 years


In Summary

The scandal that kept ex-TRA boss behind bars for 4 years

By Bernard James @TheCitizenTz

Dar es Salaam. Former Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) commissioner general Harry Kitilya, 70, and four other people breathed fresh air yesterday after languishing in remand prison for four years in one of Tanzania’s high profile and dramatic Sh12 billion ($6 million) bribery scandal.

The Corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court declared Kitilya, the 1996 Miss Tanzania and former head of Investment Banking with Stanbic bank, Shose Senare, and former chief legal officer to the bank Sioi Sumari free after they entered a plea bargain agreement with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to pay a whopping Sh1.5 billion for their freedom.

Others who walked free were two senior officials of the ministry of Finance-- Bedason Shallanda and Alfred Misana, who also entered a plea bargaining arrangement with the DPP.

The court ordered them to jointly pay Sh1.5 billion on plea bargaining agreement and additional Sh1 million each to secure their freedom for causing the government a $6 million in losses.

Plea bargaining was introduced in the country last year and has mostly been the avenue for suspects in mega corruption cases to escape full trial.

The four pleaded guilty of causing the $6 million loss to the government before Lady Justice Immaculate Banzi.

They were facing charges of forgery, uttering false information and fraudulently obtaining $6 million (about Sh12 billion) which was paid to them as a kickback in facilitating the securing of the $600 million foreign loan by the government of Tanzania.

Mr Kitilya’s firm, Enterprise Growth Markets Advisors (EGMA), was allegedly paid the over Sh12 billion bribe in the loan transaction.

How it started

The lucrative loan facilitation deal that would lead high profile bribery scam started with an idea in the US between Mr Kitilya and Ms Sinare during a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington in April, 2012, and had conversation on government financing.

The two later took their dream to a top level, playing key roles in securing a $600 million foreign loan for the government and opening a can of worms over mega corruption in the country.

After the Washington meeting in which both attended as part of a government delegation, Ms Sinare allegedly boasted to fellow staff that Mr Kitilya introduced her to two African central bank governors who convinced her bank to consider the business of raising funds for the government.

Details of what followed came to the limelight following investigations by UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that exposed how the 2013 government loan was used to create the Sh12 billion bribery conduit that benefited public and private corporate executives.

Details from SFO show how Ms Sinare and Mr Kitilya’s EGMA, the firm that was paid the Sh12 billion in bribe in the loan transaction, facilitated behind-the-scene talks to secure the deal.

Who played what role

SFO which carried out the corruption investigation involving Stanbic and its main unity, Standard Bank’s role, revealed a link between individuals who were central to the deal and how they may have influenced it.

Other than the former TRA chief who played a camouflage role as EGMA coprincipal, the negotiations were handled at either stage by former finance minister Mustafa Mkulo, his successor William Mgimwa, former Finance permanent secretary Ramadhan Khijja, former finance permanent secretary Dr Servacius Likwelile, and other senior treasury officials.

The two officials of the Ministry of Finance, Bedason Shallanda, who was the commissioner for Policy Analysis-Debts and Alfred Misana, the assistant commissioner for Policy Analysis-Debts were joined in the case in January, 2019.

The two officials were jointly facing one count of use of documents intended to mislead the principal with the additional charge of leading organized crime, one count of money laundering, obtaining money by false pretences and occasioning loss to the government.

Court documents show that the two officials acted on documents containing false statement to show that Stanbic Bank (Tanzania) Limited in collaboration with Standard Bank London, would raise the loan of $550 million for the government of Tanzania at an agreement fee of 2.4 percent of the principal amount.

They were also accused of using the Standard Bank’s Financing Proposal with the intention of misleading the government.

Sioi together with Mr Kitilya and Ms Sinare, allegedly prepared a false agreement dated November 5, 2012 purporting to show that the bank has established a consortium to collaborate with EGMA Limited to arrange for the financing of the money.

The former taxman and the ex-officials of Stanbic Bank, Ms Sinare and Sioi were arraigned on April 1, 2016 and they have since been languishing in jail for facing the unbailable money laundering charge.

In a dramatic turn of events, the DPP dropped all charges against Kitilya and two co-accused in January last year and filed a new case with 58 new charges against them.

They have appeared at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court over 72 times when the case against them was called for mention, hearing of applications and rulings.

Yesterday, Lady Justice Banzi said she considered submissions of both parties and the plea bargain agreement and its execution mode and ordered each of the accused to pay Sh1 million in court and another Sh1.5 billion to be paid jointly.

The plea bargaining agreement between the accused and the DPP was filed in court on Monday for registration.

The agreement, among other things, exonerated the accused of 57 out of 58 counts they face but sustained one charge of causing Sh$6 million loss to the government, of which the accused pleaded guilty and ordered to pay Sh1.5 billion.

The accused took an oath before the judge questioned them on the voluntariness of the agreement and if they have read them through and understood its stated terms.

The agreement also means the accused denied themselves the right to have their case heard to the end and decided on merits and the right to appeal on the same.

Under the agreement, the accused may face fresh charges in return for a guilty plea if it is discovered that they have given false information. All the accused agreed to the terms of the contract.

Details of the plea bargain were not made known to the public as the matter is completely a private process.

Yesterday, DPP Biswalo Mganga represented the Republic in person and asked the court to order the accused to pay a Sh1.5 billion compensation for the loss they have caused to the government as agreed in the plea bargain.

“All the accused, have pleaded guilty to the charges. This court has convicted them all for pleading guilty of causing a $6 million loss to the government,” said Lady Justice Banzi.

Lead defence counsel Alex Mgongolwa pleaded with the court to give a lenient punishment considering the accused have confessed to the offences to save court time and government resources.

He added that Mr Kitilya, with 70 years of age, had underlying health conditions and that the accused who have spent over four years behind bars have families depending on them.


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Why Haji wants Obado and his three children jailed

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Why Haji wants Obado and his three children jailed

Governor to be charged alongside his three children and directors of 11 companies of his proxies.

  • Money was sent to Obado's children abroad for fees and upkeep.
  • Obado's proxy Jared Kwaga roped in his family in the grand scheme.

It is end of the road for Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his proxies whom he is alleged to have used to siphon millions of county funds to local and offshore accounts.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Tuesday approved the arrest and prosecution of Obado and his three children, dealing a staggering blow to the family as the governor is separately battling murder charges.

Obado will now be barred from accessing office, a precedent that has already been set in other graft cases. 

Also to be charged is Jared Kwaga — said to be Obado’s closest proxy in the siphoning of county cash. Kwaga, also roped in his own family — including his wife and mother. 

Also to be charged are directors of 11 companies that Obado and his associates registered soon after he became governor through which they pocketed millions of shillings in “fictitious” contracts.

“The investigations were in respect of Sh73.4 million being sums indirectly received by the governor Migori county through his children who received multiple payments from companies trading with the Migori county government between 2013-2017,” Haji said in a statement to newsrooms.

According to an audit trail by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the companies that were trading with the Migori county government wired Sh38.9 million to the accounts of Obado’s three children.

The money was used as their school fees, upkeep, maintenance and medical bills in Australia, Scotland and United Kingdom. 

The three children who will be charged alongside their father are Achola Dan Okoth, Susan Scarlet Okoth and Jerry Zachary Okoth.

“Some of the monies were also traced to have bought two motor vehicles of make, Toyota Land Cruiser V8,” Haji said. 

Obado has had a troubled career after his re-election in 2017.

In September 2018, the governor was arrested over the gruesome murder of his pregnant girlfriend Sharon Otieno.

Obado’s wife was also questioned in relation to the gangland killing that shocked the nation.

In the new case, Kwaga’s wife Christine Akinyi Ochola, his mother Peninah Auma Otago and his brothers Joram Opala Otieno as well as Patroba Ochanda will also be charged.

Also to be arraigned is Kwaga’s sister-in law Carolyne Anyango Ochola.

Recently, EACC discovered that Kwaga had purchased a Sh35 million house in Loresho, yet it was Obado’s daughter Everlyne who was collecting the rent.

EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said the 23 persons and entities will be charged with, among others, conspiracy to commit an offense of corruption, conflict of interest, money laundering and unlawful acquisition of public property.

According to the documents EACC filed in court, Kwaga’s companies were paid Sh1.6 billion since 2013.

"These funds have been used to acquire and construct properties worth over Sh1 billion registered in the governor's and Kwaga's names. We have traced these properties," EACC said in court papers.

In 2018, the High Court issued orders barring Kwaga and his family from selling or transferring about  65 properties — including maisonettes, apartments and land — all valued at over Sh382 million.

The High Court restrained the owners and interested parties or their agents from “transferring, charging, disposing, wasting or any other way alienating the properties.”

The DPP is likely to ask the court that the properties be surrendered to the government.

Also to be charged is Jared Kwaga — said to be Obado’s closest proxy in the siphoning of county cash. Kwaga, also roped in his own family — including his wife and mother. 

Also to be charged are directors of 11 companies that Obado and his associates registered soon after he became governor

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Celebrated cop stares at life imprisonment for wildlife trafficking

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Celebrated cop stares at life imprisonment for wildlife trafficking

By Joseph Ndunda August 8th, 2020

Nairobi, KENYA. One of the country’s most prolific killer cops is staring at a possibility of spending life in prison after he was convicted for wildlife trafficking offences and abuse of a government firearm.

Corporal Henry Mokua Onsongo popularly known as Masai was celebrated and revered in equal measure for his extrajudicial executions of hardcore criminals and brutality while dealing with budding ones.

But he is now awaiting sentencing for the offences that attract life imprisonment and an alternative fine of up to Sh20 million.

In his days as the lead SPIV officer in crime-prone areas of Nairobi including in all Mukuru slums, Embakasi and Eastlands areas where he served, Masai was celebrated for killing most dangerous criminals he usually traced and fatally shot in “deadly shootouts” and hideouts.

Cornered in South B shopping centre

His troubles, however, started on March 9, 2015, when he was cornered in South B shopping centre by Kenya Wildlife Service officers who had been tracing him with intelligence that he was dealing with wildlife trophies.

He was found with a piece of a Rhino horn weighing 600 grams and valued at Sh1.2 million inside his car after one of the KWS officers posed as a buyer in a well-planned and meticulously executed dragnet.

In circumstances that would lead to his successful prosecution and conviction for the serious offences, Masai pulled out his Ceska Pistol and threatened the KWS officers and a dangerous confrontation ensued until his seniors from Industrial Area police station arrived at the scene and disarmed him.

This confrontation where Masai **ed his gun and threatened to shoot the KWS officers sired a charge of misuse of a government firearm and obstructing officers on their duties both of which he was also convicted.

And chief magistrate Joyce Gandani of Kibera law courts who found him guilty as charged stopped in the middle of delivering her judgment to confirm Masai was not armed.

Masai was facing a total of four charges: possession of wildlife trophy, dealing in wildlife trophy, obstructing persons in execution of their duties, and using a government firearm for an unlawful purpose.

In the counts of possession and dealing with wildlife trophy, Masai was charged alongside businessman Eliud Wanyonyi and Richard Ngeleka Kalatanda and was convicted jointly with Wanyonyi.

During his trial and after conviction, Masai maintained innocence and claimed he was on duty.

But his seniors at the Industrial Area police station where he headed the SPIV team and Kwa Reuben police post under the same station where he was the deputy in charge and the in-charge of armoury confirmed he was off duty at the time he was arrested.

In mitigation, Masai pleaded for leniency as he has a family and four children entirely dependent on him and he has not been under any employment as he has been under interdiction since he was charged.

Sentence on the two will be passed Monday 10 August 2020.

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ARINSA Judges and Advocates e-learning Courses

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Dear ARINSA Community members,

In the next 2 weeks ARINSA will be hosting a Judges course and an Advocates course.

Click each of the links below for an introduction video of the courses.

  1. Advocates’ course:
2. Judges’ course:

Please share widely within the ARINSA network.

Yours sincerely,

Kudzai Chinoda

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Financial Investigations a Practical Approach - From Planning to Action.

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Title: Financial Investigations a Practical Approach - From Planning to Action.


Course Start Date: Wed, 1 July 2020 - End Date: Fri, 14 August 2020


Closing Date for Registration: Wed, 15 July 2020



In May 2020 we started engaging our ARINSA family to take online courses. This was done to take advantage of the work from home modalities and travel restrictions that had been put in place by several governments in the Southern African region during this COVID pandemic. UNODC Global e-learning is running several e-learning courses via the ARINSA website and this will continue into the coming months. During each month we will be focusing on a specific topic. The focus for the month of May has been “Introduction to Money Laundering”. In the month of July, the focus will be on “Financial Investigations: Search and Seizures”.  The month of August will focus on “prosecuting money laundering asset forfeiture cases” while September will be for the judiciary. Experts will follow up with live online interactive sessions where the knowledge and skills obtained from the e-learning courses will be further strengthened and enhanced. Participants will have an opportunity to clarify and ask questions during the live sessions and through discussion forums.

The 2nd module starting in July, is a follow-up to the 1st module which ran from 1 May 2020 to 21 June 2020. To fully understand this second module  participants are encouraged to go through the courses of the 1st module which is accessible through the ARINSA websiteMLC course. This 2nd module covers a number of topics and participants will be encouraged to take more courses than the prescribed mandatory courses to obtain a wider view on the subject matter.  




The second module has 13 courses, which must be completed by the end of the 2nd week of August. Each course takes approximately 1-2 hours. Participants will be required to take at

least three courses per week and four courses in the last week. After each week, participants will be required to complete the following:

1.       Upload certificates of completion (obtained from the UNODC Global E-Learning)

2.       Write a short summary of what you learnt during the week of not more than 200 words   

          in the text box labeled “Online Text

3.       Complete a brief evaluation questionnaire 

4.       Participate in an online webinar

Four (4) live webinar sessions will be done to cover the courses, all of which will be mandatory towards the awarding of a final course certificate. After the lifting of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, UNODC will organize training sessions which will build upon the foundations laid in these courses. Completion of this module will be considered when inviting and sponsoring attendance to future in-person courses.

UNODC therefore kindly requests all contact points, heads of departments and colleagues to spread this message as widely as possible to all possible participants within the asset forfeiture space and all other institutions that are linked to money laundering and financial crime to avail themselves to take these courses.


In order to register for e-learning, course participants need to be a part of the ARINSA website platform. ARINSA website membership application forms can be obtained from Upon completion, forms must be scanned and sent to Yeukai and copying, for registration. Kindly note that only typed or clearly hand-written (in CAPITAL LETTERS) forms are accepted. Photographs of these forms may also suffice. Please send an email to the above addresses in case of any challenges registering to the platform. Please Note that: Yahoo email addresses are blocking emails from our system therefore use alternative email addresses.

Those who are already part of the ARINSA platform but have forgotten login credentials should send an email request clearly stated “forgotten password” to and copy



Once you have obtained the ARINSA website login credentials, enroll yourself for the e-learning course by following the link here (,


Or else,

if you are in the ARINSA platform go to “LEARNING -> FISZ -> under the heading FISZ Self Enroll –  The enrollment key is “fisz2020” -> Click Enroll Me

Once enrolled on the FISZ course, now register yourself as a “NEW USER”  at the UNODC GLOBAL eLearning website by following the link here ( . Once you successfully register and login to the UNODC Global website, send your full names and login credentials that you have used by email to and copy Existing students or those who have already registered for the previous course do not need to be enrolled again on the UNODC GLOBAL eLearning website.

The deadline for online all Registrations for the July course will be CoB, Wednesday, 14 July 2020.

There are limited spaces so, NO participants will be registered or enrolled after this date!

We hope that you will find this to be worthwhile and enriching to your careers as well as of those of the others.


All the best and let us keep safe.


Best Regards,

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Covid-19 relief: NPA freezes 28 bank accounts as huge UIF ‘fraud’ comes to light

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Covid-19 relief: NPA freezes 28 bank accounts as huge UIF ‘fraud’ comes to light

21 June 2020 - 00:05 By JEFF WICKS

Phohole's bank balance surged from R12.46 to R5,688,814.66, and he immediately began channelling the cash to friends.
Phohole's bank balance surged from R12.46 to R5,688,814.66, and he immediately began channelling the cash to friends.
Image: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Nearly R6m in Covid-19 relief funds - intended for 200 workers at risk of starvation - were diverted to one man in what Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) investigators are calling a glaring instance of fraud and money-laundering.

In what appears to be a manipulation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) relief system that has given a lifeline to 3.6-million people, a large labour broker's Covid-19 Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters) claim was allegedly paid to one man - Tshepang Phohole.

In an instant he went from having R12 in his account to more than R5m, much of it then quickly funnelled to friends.

Within five days he had blown through nearly R5.7m, and the AFU and police are now probing the UIF to establish whether employees acted in concert with Phohole.

On Friday, the graft-busting unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) secured a preservation order from the Pretoria high court, freezing money in 28 bank accounts.

On May 14, its application said, Phohole's bank balance surged from R12.46 to R5,688,814.66, and he immediately began channelling the cash to people in his circle of friends in and around Pretoria.

By May 27, when the Financial Intelligence Centre froze Phohole's account, only R7,155.86 remained. Another R100,201.33 was found in another Capitec account in his name, and a total of R3.2m in friends' accounts. There is no information about what has happened to the remaining R2.4m.

The NPA's Sipho Ngwema said investigators acted quickly to secure the money that remained. "We placed our focus on securing the stolen money as quickly as possible. Law enforcement agencies have come together to form an oversight structure which seeks out Covid-19-related corruption and that is how this incident was picked up," he said.

"We are investigating whether there was complicity on the part of those working at the UIF. There is a suspicion that there may have been criminal activity between UIF officials and the end recipient of the money . it is an area of focus for investigators."

Court papers obtained by the Sunday Times detail how the cash was allegedly diverted to Phohole, and then to his friends. It occurred after a system change at the UIF, which decided to pay claims directly to individuals rather than to their employers. The change has led to severe delays in the payment of May Ters benefits.

According to an affidavit deposed by AFU financial investigator David Mfopha, the R5.7m was meant for employees of Pretoria labour broker CSG Resources. Phohole is registered for financial relief from the UIF's Covid-19 relief scheme, and was due to receive financial relief - just not the windfall that came his way.

The firm submitted its application to the UIF and, inexplicably, the entire amount was paid into Phohole's Capitec Bank account instead of the company's Nedbank business account. By the time CSG raised the alarm and Phohole's bank account was frozen, the money had gone.

CSG's Kobus Nieuwoudt said the company knew its UIF claim had been processed but the funds had not reflected in its account. "It became clear that the funds were paid out by the UIF, but into a bank account which does not belong to CSG Resources," he said.

Mfopha said: "This is clearly fraud, theft and money-laundering. It is my submission that the funds have been stolen, meaning that theft was committed against the state because Tshepang Phohole distributed those funds well knowing that he was not entitled to those funds or to distribute them."

The UIF's relief scheme has paid out more than R21bn since the beginning of April to more than 3.6-million workers, the department of labour reported on Monday.

Mfopha said analysis of Phohole's transaction history revealed that he hastily disbursed R5.5m in a series of payments to four people. He also spent R5,000 on cryptocurrency through the online trading platform Luno. Among his alleged beneficiaries was Tebogo Masoko, who received the largest slice, R2.3m.

Investigators established that all four began sending money hand over fist to companies and firms in their network.

On more than one occasion, money was dropped into company accounts then later transferred back to the original sender, in what seems to be an attempt to obfuscate the source of the tainted cash.

Among these transactions were those allegedly steered by Masoko, who repeatedly moved money between his personal account and that of his Soshanguve business, DI LS Finest Café.

"All this is done with an attempt of trying to confuse the exact source where the funds originally came from," Mfopha said. "It will be shown that the account holders used the accounts to receive, transfer and launder the proceeds of the . unlawful activities."

According to the papers, money that left their accounts included R25,200 to a tombstone maker and R11,500 on catering.

"From the evidence at my disposal, it is my respectful submission that the positive balances in these accounts represent the proceeds of unlawful activities . the bank accounts are all instruments to commit fraud and money-laundering," Mfopha said.

Repeated efforts to contact Masoko via the several numbers listed in his name were unsuccessful.

Phohole and others alleged to have laundered money have neither been arrested nor charged, but Mfopha said Phohole had stolen the money. The Sunday Times's efforts to trace Phohole were unsuccessful.

Ngwema said: "Law enforcement agencies are awaiting a statement from the UIF that shows how the Covid-19 relief payment was manipulated to be paid into the account of Phohole."

Read More: //

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EU lists Mauritius as high-risk country for money laundering

by Kudzai Chinoda -

EU lists Mauritius as high-risk country for money laundering

May 2020

In Summary

  • About a fortnight ago, the European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the EU, put Mauritius on its list of high-risk countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.
  • Signals that Mauritius could be blacklisted started earlier this year when the county was put on the FATF’s “grey list” if they did not curb the mushrooming of terror funding and money laundering activities.
  • Several investors in East Africa, like commercial and investment banks and insurance firms, have registered firms in Mauritius because of the tax benefits, eliciting calls for investigations of the double taxation agreements.

More by this Author

Companies operating in Mauritius face a test of integrity after the European Union included the island on its revised list of high-risk jurisdictions for money laundering and terror funding.

Mauritius has been a popular financial haven for the region’s wealthy individuals, with several companies registering their subsidiaries in Port Louis mostly due to its favourable tax regime with corporate and export taxes of 15 per cent and three per cent, respectively.

The country also allows a 100 per cent foreign ownership with no capital gains tax.

However, about a fortnight ago, the European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the EU, put Mauritius on its list of high-risk countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.

In a statement on its website, EC said the revised list will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval within one month (with a possible one-month extension) and the country status of the new listing will take effect on October 1.

The methodology takes into account the interaction between the EU and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process, an enhanced engagement with third countries and consultation with member states.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body that sets anti-money laundering standards.

Signals that Mauritius could be blacklisted started earlier this year when the country was put on the FATF’s “grey list” if they did not curb the mushrooming of terror funding and money laundering activities.

The EU’s revised list for high risk countries considered developments that have taken place at the international level since 2018.

The new list also includes Botswana, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Countries which have been delisted include Ethiopia, Tunisia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guyana, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Sri Lanka.

East Africa has recently seen a surge in investments from Mauritius, with banking, insurance, agriculture, telecoms, trade and the oil and gas sectors receiving most of the capital.

In the region, Kenya has attracted the largest number of investors: Data shows that Mauritian companies have invested over Ksh10 billion ($100 million) in the country, mostly in financial services and the sugar sector.

Several investors in East Africa, like commercial and investment banks and insurance firms, have registered firms in Mauritius because of the tax benefits, eliciting calls for investigations of the double taxation agreements.

In April last year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth in Mauritius and they agreed to jointly support private sector investments by reducing the bureaucratic procedures required to set up businesses.

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