LATEST: ZACC pounces on VID boss who owns 7 houses, a lodge and 7 cars


VID officer in Zimbabwe ordered to explain wealth and assets by anti-corruption commission

In a move to combat corruption and investigate suspicious wealth accumulation, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has taken action against a senior officer from the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID). Mr Knox Ozipatele Mutatabikwa, who holds the position of second-in-charge at VID Beitbridge, has been ordered to explain the sources of his wealth that have enabled him to amass an impressive portfolio of seven houses, a lodge, and seven vehicles across the country.

ZACC, consisting of a team of nine officers, paid a visit to Mr Mutatabikwa and served him with a High Court order. The order compels Mr Mutatabikwa and his wife, Mrs Maonei Memory Mutatabikwa, to provide a satisfactory explanation for their empire, which includes properties valued at over US$1.3 million, a lodge worth US$400,000, and a fleet of vehicles totalling around US$220,000.

According to Mr Mutatabikwa, the accumulation of his wealth began with payouts he and his wife received from previous employers, along with reinvesting profits from their A2 tobacco farm. He expressed confidence in his ability to meet the requirements set forth by ZACC and demonstrate the legitimacy of his assets within the given time frame.

The High Court order, signed by Justice Chikowero and dated December 23, 2023, stipulates that the Mutatabikwas must provide ZACC with detailed information regarding the acquisition of their properties, along with supporting documents. They are required to submit sworn statements to the head of ZACC’s Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Unit within 15 days of receiving the order. These statements are expected to clarify the origin of funds used for property acquisitions and provide evidence of legitimate business activity and income sources.

Among the properties listed in the court order are houses in Khwalu 1 suburb valued at US$150,000 and Dulilvhadzimu worth US$90,000. The couple also holds two properties in Beitbridge and Norton, each valued at US$150,000. Additionally, their portfolio includes Mutsa Guest Lodge in Khwalu 1 suburb, estimated at US$400,000, and a house in Adlyn, Harare, valued at US$300,000.

In regards to their vehicle ownership, Mr and Mrs Mutatabikwa must provide an explanation of how they acquired a Toyota Allion, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Premacy, Amarok, and another Toyota Allion, collectively worth over US$220,000. ZACC’s investigating officer is authorized to physically inspect the vehicles during the investigation.

Mr Mutatabikwa, in his response to the allegations, expressed his willingness to cooperate and stated that he had undergone previous investigations by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2004, which concluded that his business dealings were legitimate. He attributed the purchase of the lodge to his previous employment package at PG Industries and clarified that his wife’s package from FC Motors accounted for the Adlyn property and the Amarok.

While orders of this nature can be easily satisfied if wealth is acquired through legitimate means, scrutiny intensifies when there are suspicions of illicit funds. The onus lies on individuals to provide clear explanations and substantiating documentation for their business activities and asset accumulation.

The outcome of this case will be closely watched as it underscores the importance of accountability and adherence to legal processes in the pursuit of economic prosperity.

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