Suspected illegal forex dealer loses vehicle and cash in landmark ruling


Illegal currency dealer’s sister loses vehicle to the State

In a major legal setback for an alleged foreign currency black market operator, a Zimbabwean court has ordered the forfeiture of a vehicle belonging to the sister of the accused.

The Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court ruled that a white Honda Airwave motor vehicle owned by Ratidzai Lydia Chiodze must be seized by the state. The vehicle was found to be connected to the illegal activities of her brother, Samuel Tererai Chiodze, who was arrested in September 2021 for unlawful foreign currency dealings.

Acording to the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe, the Prosecutor General’s office, through the Asset Forfeiture Unit, successfully argued that the vehicle and a substantial amount of cash found inside it were “tainted property” and “proceeds of crime” under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.

During a police sting operation targeting illegal forex traders, authorities received a tip-off that led them to Samuel Chiodze’s residence. Though no direct evidence of currency violations was found in his home, police did discover the Honda Airwave parked outside, which Chiodze refused to unlock.

After forcing entry, officers found two sacks containing a staggering ZWL1,436,500 – the equivalent of over US$16,000 at the time. The court ruled that the vehicle was used to store or transport this illicit cash, and held that neither Samuel Chiodze nor his sister provided a satisfactory explanation for how the money ended up in the car.

This latest forfeiture order is a significant victory for Zimbabwean authorities in their ongoing crackdown on the black market foreign currency trade.

The forfeiture of the vehicle and the seized money will undoubtedly serve as a deterrent to others engaged in similar illegal practices. As the battle against financial crimes intensifies, the authorities remain committed to dismantling illicit networks and safeguarding the integrity of the financial system.

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