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Reports on Chinamasa's son smuggling $7m to SA a 'grand hoax'

by Staff reporter
30 May 2016 at 21:13hrs | Views

Weekend reports originating on social media that Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa's son had been arrested at Beitbridge Border post for allegedly trying to smuggle US$7m in hard cash out of the country fizzled out on Monday with no confirmation.

Chinamasa has spoken out against leakages of hard cash from Zimbabwe through porous borders and organised externalisation.

"Rumoured that Patrick Chinamasa's son was arrested at Beit Bridge with US $7million he was taking out of country," said one of the many tweets on the subject at the weekend. Social media was abuzz with the story, with other tweets asking: "Can someone please confirm that Chinamasa's son has been arrested at Beitbridge for trying to smuggle $7 million out of the country."

Zimbabwe, battling constraining cash shortages, is to introduce bond notes (local currency backed by a $200m Afreximbank facility) in August to help ease the cash crunch.

Outspoken Zanu PF Minister of Higher Education and former government spokesperson Jonathan Moyo denied the reports on Sunday.

"My reliable information is that it's a n.aked lie. Young Tino Chinamasa is at home in Harare right now. Dirty tricks!" he said on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

"I am not in the office. Where are you based? You can contact Senior Assistant Commissioner Charamba at Police Headquarters," Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi told Fin24 by phone in response to inquiries.

Charamba was not immediately reachable on his mobile phone when contacted for comment. However, reports of the arrest of the minister's son fizzled out on Monday as there was no confirmation, with other officials dismissing the reports as a hoax.

"The weekend story about #Chinamasa son trying to smuggle US$ to SA proving to be a grand hoax," tweeted journalist Paidamoyo Muzulu during lunch hour on Monday.

A statement attributed to one of Chinamasa's daughters also denied that her brother had been arrested.

She said she was "not even annoyed at the story cause it's untrue, but being a journalist myself it pains me when other journalists do such crappy work", adding that it was unrealistic to smuggle that amount of money in the boot of a car.

But this has not prevented conspiracy theories being thrown around, with tweets and other social media messages indicating that Chinamasa had called the bosses at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to cover up the alleged development involving his son.

Source - online