A Mutare man accused of looting diamonds from the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company’s (ZCDC) minefield in Chiadzwa, is now under spotlight after suspiciously purchasing four Toyota Fortuner (SUV) vehicles, a Toyota Hilux double cab, five houses and a commercial property in the eastern border town in a short space of time.
Believe Ranguna (34) popularly known as “Billie” in Manicaland, has proved to be a “Toyota Fortuner lover”.
He is now under police investigation for allegedly stealing diamonds but the court has, in the interim, frozen his assets pending a forfeiture application by the prosecutor general.
He was also asked to explain how he acquired the properties, considering he has no history of being formally employed nor paying tax to Government on behalf of a legally recognised business entity.
The State believes the assets were purchased from proceeds of crime, hence they must be forfeited.
The properties frozen by the court are:
Number 73 Chaminuka Greenside Mutare, otherwise known as stand number 5508 Mutare.
Number 130 Rekai Tangwena Murare, otherwise known as stand number 3116 Mutare.
Subdivision A of stand number 627 Mutare.
A commercial stand, namely stand 8481 Chikanga Mutare valued at US$70 000.
Stand Number 15 Bunting, Greenside otherwise known as Stand 3231 Mutare
Number 7 Arcadia Road Palmerstone known as 5123 Mutare valued at US$150 000.
Stand number 15A 4th Street otherwise known as stand number 11385 Mutare valued at US$40 000.
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD6 RB registration number “Billie3” registered on 11 April 2018.
Toyota Fortuner registration number AEV 9703 registered on 10 August 2018.
Toyota Fortuner registration number ADA 4077 registered on 18 October 2013.
Toyota Fortuner registration number 002705L (which was seized and eventually forfeited to the State by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in Mutare).
Toyota Hilux registration number ADL 9150 registered on 4 December 2014.
Toyota Harrier registration number ABV 5629 registered on the 9th of March 2011.
Toyota RunX registration number ACV 3703 registered on 18 February 2013.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, headed by chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura successfully sought the freezing of the assets, arguing that they were tainted.
“The respondent participated directly or indirectly in serious offences that include, money laundering and unlawful dealing in diamonds which give rise to a reasonable conclusion that his acquisition of wealth is unexplained and illicit.
“He has never been employed formally or informally to an extent that his known source of income as can be ascertained by investigative authorities of Zimbabwe remains a mystery as he has never declared any income in terms of the Income Tax Act proving that he in deed lawfully earned the wealth that he has thus the conclusion that his wealth which exceed US$100 000 far much exceed his known source of income,” reads the application.
Officer in Charge CID Homicide section in Harare Detective Chief Inspector Jachi investigated the manner in which the assets were acquired and concluded that chances were high that Ranguna could have illegally raised the money.
“On July 4, 2018, I was tasked to institute investigations on the suspected illegal activities of the respondent in Mutare. The suspicions were based on massive acquisition of property of considerable value by the respondent within a short space of time in the context of massive theft of diamonds at Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in Chiyadzwa, Mutare.
“The respondent, aged 34 has never been employed by any company, or individual and does not operate any income generating enterprise unless if he can demonstrate such income which he must declare to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in terms of Income Tax obligations at law.
Ranguna’s close associates who were interviewed confirmed that he was never formally or informally employed.
A check with the Registrar of Companies shows he does not own a registered company.
At the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, records show that Ranguna’s only bank account with Standard Chartered Bank never held funds enough to purchase the properties in question.
The biggest deposit to his bank account was US$11 400, which was deposited on January 13, 2016.
Chief Insp Jachi established that Ranguna bought a house at 7 Palmerstone Arcacia Road, Mutare, from Barnabas Mubvumbi and paid US$55 000 cash.
On August 23 2013, Ranguna purchased a house at Number 73 Chaminuka Greenside Mutare from Henry Mutezo and Alice Mutezo for US$85 000 cash.
On April 8 2014, Ranguna purchased House Number 130 Rekai Tangwena, Murare, otherwise known as Stand number 3116, Mutare, from Oswald Mutare for US$70 000, which he paid in cash.
Ranguna bought Subdivision A of Stand Number 627, Mutare, from Rashid Noor-Mohamed for US$410 000, which he paid in cash.
This cash was physically ferried by Safeguard Security Mutare Cash in Transit department under Seal Number 0875296 and Voucher number 80459.
The respondent effected improvements and developments on the above-mentioned property using funds from unknown but suspected illicit origins.
Ranguna’s spending spree raised suspicion in Mutare and he was arrested for Money Laundering as defined in section 8(1) (a) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act [CHAPTER 9:24] on July 8, 2018.
Before the money laundering trial commenced, Ranguna’s lawyers successfully applied for referral of the case to the Constitutional Court, citing constitutional breaches.
The trial stopped until 2020 when the constitutional challenge was struck off the roll.
He now faces trial at Mutare Magistrates’ Court.
Meanwhile, Ranguna has filed his affidavit with the police explaining his wealth.
In the affidavit, Ranguna denied dealing or stealing diamonds.
Instead, he told the police that he had been into the business of buying and selling second-hand clothes.
Ranguna told the police that he got R20 000 from his relative in South Africa, which he used to start the second-hand clothes business.
Second-hand clothes bales are smuggled into the country from Mozambique through illegal crossing points.
“In 2006, my uncle Albert Moyo gave me R20 000 to start a business. I started to buy and sell second-hand clothes at Sakubva Market.
“In the same year, I managed to buy a Toyota Sprinter I later sold. That is the very year I entered into buying and selling of second-hand cars as well. Some of the vehicles I would register in my name while others were sold without registering them in my name . . . ”
Ranguna said at one point he borrowed US$290 000 from an Odzi farmer called Douglas Mutambara, which he used in the purchase of subdivision A of Stand Number 627, Mutare.
For other properties, Ranguna said he used savings from the second-hand clothes and cars businesses.