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Journalists accused of stealing over $800 000

by Staff Reporter
17 May 2013 at 03:48hrs | Views
BULAWAYO police on Thursday interrogated two Chronicle journalists accused by Geozing owner, Mr George Zingani, of being part of a group that allegedly stole more than $800 000 during a search at his home and office.

The two are being accused together with the Deputy Sheriff and a city lawyer.

The lawyer obtained an Anton Piller Order from the High Court, on behalf of his clients who lost their money which they invested in Geozing, to search Mr Zingani's offices between 14th and 15th avenues and his houses in Famona and Tshabalala.

Sometime after the search, which was conducted on 11 April, Mr Zingani made a police report alleging that $500 000 and about $300 000 cash had gone missing from his Famona home and office.

The lawyer and Deputy Sheriff have already been questioned by police.

The two journalists spent more than an hour at CABS Building being grilled by detectives.

"They said we were suspects in the disappearance of about $800 000 from Mr Zingani's properties. They wanted to know who had told us that a search would be conducted. They also said our presence during the search was illegal," said one of the journalists.

The journalists said the detectives recorded a statement and said they would contact them later so that they could sign it.

"They said the search should have been done in the presence of police officers.

"We explained that a source tipped us off about the search. On the day, the police had been invited but when the lawyer showed them the High Court Order authorising it, they doubted its authenticity.

"The lawyer spent almost two hours at the High Court with the police, but when the order was validated, they said they would only come if there were problems, like someone resisting implementation of the order," said the journalist.

The journalists said they told the police that they had not seen the money that Mr Zingani alleged was at his properties.

"We told them we had not seen it. I doubt that it was there to begin with. $800 000 is such a large sum of money. Due to the number of notes involved, it would have been impossible for anyone to steal it without being seen," said the journalist.

On Tuesday the lawyer said the police had visited him and questioned him at his office.

He said he had also told them that he had not seen the money.

The lawyer dismissed the allegations as a ploy by Mr Zingani to escape liability from his creditors.

Mr Zingani's lawyer, Mr Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners yesterday still maintained that he was not aware that his client had reported that money had been stolen from his properties.

Contacted for comment, acting CID national spokesperson Detective Sergeant Sharon Musendo confirmed that Mr Zingani had made a report.

"We received a report regarding the alleged disappearance of $800 000. Investigations are in progress," said Detective Sgt Musendo.

Last week, Mr Zingani was fined $7 000 by Bulawayo magistrate Mr Crispen James Mberewere for violating Section 5(10) (b) of the Banking Act, Chapter 9:23.

Mr Majoko immediately applied for extended time for Mr Zingani to raise the fine.

The court granted him two weeks.

Thousands of investors lost money after investment schemes that offered monthly interest rates of up to 30 percent began collapsing in Bulawayo.

Geozing Pawnbrokers was the first, followed by Perfect Shot Investments and Perandori.

Perfect Shot Investments was last month fined $2 000 and barred from taking investors deposits after being found guilty of contravening the Banking Act.

The company pleaded guilty to contravening banking registration laws when it accepted deposits and was involved in money lending schemes  without registering with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

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Source - Chronicle