Mmegi Online :: High Court gives Phiri all his frozen money
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Last Updated
Friday 17 November 2017, 19:00 pm.
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High Court gives Phiri all his frozen money

The High Court in Lobatse yesterday granted Botswana born, South African based businessman Simbi Phiri of Khato Civils access to the remainder of all his frozen accounts, which were partially frozen by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) last year.
By Staff Writer Fri 08 Sep 2017, 17:08 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: High Court gives Phiri all his frozen money








The graft agency froze the accounts while investigating the source of Phiri’s funds, then P25 million in foreign currencies, in various accounts at Stanbic Bank.

Delivering judgment, Justice Michael Leburu also ordered that the respondents bear the costs of the application.

Justice Leburu lambasted the prosecution saying when the case first started the initial restraint application’s central theme was that funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of a crime and or money laundering.

“Now it appears there is a shift… the prosecution is now saying that investigations revealed that the funds in question were obtained from a lawfully authorized dealer and that said funds were intended for travel use only… Simbi Phiri on the other hand has tendered evidence to prove that such funds were lawfully obtained obtained from an Ombinibus facility, from an authorized dealer, and not just for travel usage”.

Justice Leburu further said a perusal of the Currency and Exchange Manual for Authorized Dealers of the South African Reserve Bank lists Forex World, from where Simbi Phiri got his funds, as an authorised dealer.

While Leburu entertained the DCEC’s introduction of the Reserve Bank of South Africa’s manual as court evidence, even though the opposing lawyer Tengo Rubadiri

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had sought to have it thrown out since it lacked authenticity, the judge refused to be dragged into the rules of the Manual saying, “This may be an issue for the Reserve Bank or the authorized dealer and Simbi Phiri”.

He added that the interest of either Forex World or the Reserve Bank of South Africa had not been canvassed by the prosecution in this case.

Justice Leburu also slammed the prosecution for failure to update the Court on how far they were with their investigations or any difficulties encountered.

Leburu also lashed that the DPP or DCEC had also failed to inform the court as to when the investigations, which started over 12 months ago, are likely to be completed.

The judge said he was dismayed that despite lapse of over a year Simbi Phiri has not been interviewed about the funds in question.

“This goes to show how halfhearted and lopsided the process has been, no cogent reasons for the delay have been placed before the court, it is not in the interest of justice that Khato Civils/Simbi Phiri’s funds should be restrained for indefinite period, merely because of ongoing and indeterminate investigations,” Leburu said in part.

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