Yesterday the Criminal Investigation Department raided Econet’s Msasa offices to get details of every EcoCash account in search of evidence to be used to investigate a Money Laundering case.
The affidavit signed by CIDs Mkululi Nyoni suggests that Econet’s offices were raided because it is suspected to be involved in Money Laundering through feeding its ‘runners’ with money to buy foreign currency illegally.
I am a Detective Inspector and Officer In Charge CID Asset Forfeiture Unit, Northern-Region. I am the Investigating Officer in a case of Money Laundering C/s 8(1) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act 9:24.
I have reasonable grounds to suspect that Econet Wireless (Pvt) Ltd is involved in Money laundering activities in violation of section 8(1) (a) (b) ARW section 8(6) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (Chapter 9:24).
On 9 July 2020, information was received to the effect that during the period extending from 01 January 2020 to 30 June 2020, ECONET WIRELESS (Pvt) Ltd and its subsidiaries have been fraudulently creating and issuing non-attributable and non-auditable individual subscribers merchants billers and agent which they credited with huge turns of money and distributed to their runners through their trust accounts. The runners would in turn buy foreign currency from the black before being externalized.
It is against this background that it is suspected that the accused is laundering the proceeds of crime.
The evidence that was searched at Econet’s Msasa offices included the transaction records of EcoCash subscribers from 2 January 2020 to 30 June 2020 and also the company’s financial statements for the same period.
I, therefore, apply for the following:-
a) A lot of all subscribers/customers both registered and unregistered in the Econet Wireless (Pvt) Ltd database with full subscriber details for the period 2 January 2020 to 30 June 2020.
b) Summary of transient e-money/airtime credit service posted on the platform through airtime loans for the period 2 January 2020 to 30 June 2020.
c) All financial statements for the period 2 January 2020 to 30 June 2020 showing the entire inflow and outflow monetary transactions.
Was it a lawful search
Whilst a Magistrate endorsed the Search and Seizure, some law experts are saying that it’s illegal because CID is violating the right to privacy by forcing the accused (Econet) to give them access to its database which contains information of a blameless party (the customers).