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COTTCO boss arrested for corruption and money laundering

A Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited (COTTCO) manager appeared in the Harare Magistrates Court on Friday, May 3, facing charges of corruption and money laundering.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Munyaradzi Chikasha (46), acting CEO of COTTCO, was arraigned before a magistrate for corruptly concealing a personal interest in a financial transaction relating to his employer’s operations and money laundering.

Chikasha was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). Prosecutors said:

The allegations are that sometime in 2021, the accused, who worked as a business manager at COTTCO Chiredzi depot, devised a scheme to hire his trucks to transport COTTCO goods and benefit financially without disclosing his interests in the transactions to COTTCO.

He purchased two trucks and registered them in his nephew’s name and allegedly ordered him to open a bank account where payments for transportation services would be made. A contract for transport services was then signed between his nephew and COTTCO Chiredzi Depot.

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Subsequently, the defendant’s trucks were used to transport COTTCO goods on several occasions and were always assigned routes on good roads.

The defendant ensured that all outstanding payments for services provided by his trucks were made promptly, even when other carriers who had served COTTCO before him continued not to receive payment for their services, thus showing favoritism.

The money laundering charges arise from allegations that he used illicit profits, meaning money he benefited from transportation services, to purchase two more trucks and finance the construction of his house.

Chikasha was granted US$100 bail and ordered not to interfere with witnesses, surrender his passport and report to the police once a week. His next court appearance will be June 12, 2024.

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