By NANCY SIAME
THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit has arrested a 50-year-old Zimbabwean man for allegedly attempting to obtain US$583,110 from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) by false pretences.
DEC public relations officer Theresa Katongo said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that Thomas Mutano, a director at Pyvate Investment Limited, a company incorporated in Zimbabwe, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to obtain US$583,110 from FRA.
Ms Katongo said on dates unknown but between January 1, 2011 and March 31 this year, Mutano allegedly purported that he had not collected 4,000 metric tonnes of maize worth US$583,110 from FRA, through some named local organisations, when he did.
â€œInvestigations have revealed that the maize was collected from Chitongo, Kabwe and Mungwi FRA depots and later exported to Zimbabwe by Pyvate Investments and other companies,â€ Ms Katongo said.
She said Mutano allegedly made a claim for a refund from FRA purporting that he did not collect the maize when he did.
â€œThe suspect is in police custody and will appear in court soon,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, DEC, in a joint operation with Police in Serenje, has, arrested Reagan Mandona, 33, a businessman of 236 Kakola Road in Roma township in Lusaka, for allegedly cutting and trafficking in the mukula tree contrary to the Environmental Management Act.
Ms Katongo said Mandona has been charged with money laundering.
She said DEC has since seized K85,000 cash, a Toyota Prado and nine export seals.
And a 46-year-old maid and her son have been convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour by the Lusaka Magistrateâ€™s Court for forgery and uttering false documents.
Ms Katongo said Agnes Mukuka, a housemaid of house number 44004 Water Works in Libala, Lusaka, and her son Chibwe Chitundu, 23, of the same abode, are facing three counts of forgery and uttering false documents.
The two, with other unknown people, allegedly forged a national registration card in the name of Ireen Chituwo and presented it at Intermarket Securities where they attempted to fraudulently sell 1,000 shares from Lafarge, 32 shares from Copperbelt Energy Corporation and 3,500 shares from Airtel belonging to Ireen Chituwo.
Meanwhile, the DEC in Lusaka has arrested a 35-year-old man of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for allegedly trafficking in cocaine.
Ms Katongo said Martin Longo, 35, a businessman of Chawama township, has been arrested for trafficking in 11 granules of cocaine weighing 0.63 grammes.
The DEC has also arrested Paul Jere, 34, an automobile mechanic of house number 5,517, Kalundu in Lusaka, for alleged possession of paraphernalia used in the administering of narcotic drugs.
And the DEC over the weekend arrested over 30 people countrywide for alleged unlawful cultivation and trafficking in cannabis.
Ms Katongo said those arrested include Inness Soko, 66, a peasant farmer of 29 Milyashi East Farm Block in Chililabombwe for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 10.2kg, Mulenga Mutale, 19, of 2140 Luangwa township in Kitwe for allegedly trafficking in loose cannabis weighing 2kg, and John Tembo, 34, of NC 108, Nakoli township in Kabwe for allegedly trafficking in 1.3kg of loose cannabis.
Others are Stephen Simwaale, 26, Simon Lungu, 27, and Christopher Siame, 30.
In the Eastern Province, DEC arrested Silvester Tembo, 84, a peasant farmer of Siba Chikankheni village in Sinda district for allegedly trafficking in 500 grammes of loose cannabis and Ngoza Banda, 37, a businesswoman of Kalesa village in Sinda, for allegedly trafficking in loose cannabis weighing 1.72kg.
The suspects will appear in court soon.
By NANCY SIAME