Top Zim banker in court on currency-exchange charges

A top Zimbabwean banking executive, arrested after three years on the police wanted list, has appeared in court charged with breaching exchange controls and immigration laws, reports said on Tuesday.

James Mushore, a former deputy managing director for NMB Bank, appeared before a Harare magistrate on Monday, five days after his arrest at his home in Harare’s plush Chisipite suburb, the government mouthpiece Herald daily said.

Mushore made a dramatic escape across Lake Kariba to Zambia and then on to England in 2004 after the authorities indicated he and three other senior NMB Bank officials were in trouble.

He has been living in England but recently made several trips to Zimbabwe, apparently on the understanding the state would not pursue the allegations Mushore had violated exchange controls in his personal capacity.

NMB Bank has already been convicted and fined as a company on the same foreign currency charges that are now being preferred against Mushore, according to the report.

The Herald said Mushore was being charged with six counts of flouting exchange control regulations, allegedly after instructing bank staff to siphon more than $2,4-million, £285 000, R3-million, €30 000 and 800 000 Botswana pula to a bank in London.

All movements of scarce foreign currency out of Zimbabwe have to be authorised by the central bank.

Mushore’s lawyer Innocent Chagonda claimed that he had been in correspondence with the Zimbabwean government’s chief law officer Joseph Jagada in April 2006 and January 2007.

Jagada had told Chagonda that any charges against Mushore did not warrant his placement on remand, the Herald said.

The banker is also facing one count of breaching immigration laws related to his escape from the country. He was remanded in custody for a ruling on his case. ‒ Sapa-DPA

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