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Whistleblower seeks High Court protection

by Staff reporter
05 Apr 2024 at 06:01hrs | Views
A LOCAL businessman, who exposed a well-organised syndicate for externalising foreign currency through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has approached the High Court seeking protection since his life is now in danger.

Francesco Marconati applied for a declaratory relief following his arrest more than five times after he laid charges of externalisation of foreign currency by one of the directors at his companies.

The businessman owns several companies including Eagle Italian Shoes and Leather and Strengthened Investments Private Limited, among others.

In his application, Marconati submitted that his rights were being violated after exposing the criminal syndicate and asked the court to declare his rights and interests emanating from the exposè.

He said his application was based on article 33 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption which specifically deals with the protection of whistleblowers.

According to court papers, Marconati said it was not the first time for him to approach the court requiring the declaration of his rights pertaining to cases that he reported against former business partner Li Song.

He said all the cases he reported had not been tried while some had been overtaken by events and transferred to different police stations.

"Sometime in 2021, I discovered that the companies, at first Eagle Italian Shoes (Pvt) Ltd and Eagle Italian Leather (Pvt) Ltd, had been abused by one of the directors, Li Song, who was involved in illicit transactions and was involved in bidding for forex as if on behalf of the company yet it was only for her personal benefit. The company lost huge sums of money in the process," Marconati submitted.

He said after reporting the case to the police, he discovered that Li was also using other affiliate companies to facilitate illicit transactions, forging invoices and bidding on the foreign currency auction system for raw materials which were never bought or delivered to Zimbabwe.

The businessman said all the information was known to the police who have been handling the matters.

Marconati said Li had also dragged (him) to the criminal court alleging that he had committed fraud after removing her as a director.

The matter was finalised in November 2022.

"However, my acquittal specifically and not that of other co-accused persons was appealed against by the Prosecutor-General and remains pending before this court under case number HCHCR 797/24.

"Again the effort is to frustrate and silence me, but it has not worked. Having established the background above, despite the frustration I have been suffering due to the actions of Li Song and other individuals assisting her, I have remained steadfast and determined to ensure that justice is done," Marconati said.

He also submitted that he was being trailed by vehicles without number plates since exposing the alleged crimes.

The matter is pending.

Source - newsday