By Nyasha Mapasa
A MUTARE man has appeared in court on suspicion of illegally dealing in cash after he was found with various currencies which when converted at the prevailing interbank rate amounted to $138 826.
He was acquitted after he managed to convince the court that he was a car dealer.
Kuzivakwashe Mashangwa (35) appeared before Mutare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe on Friday last week.
He was charged with violating the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act.
Prosecutor Mr Tirivanhu Matyasira told the court that Mashangwa was found in possession of US$10 000, R30 000 and $3 384.
He was arrested after police were tipped off that Mashangwa was illegally dealing in foreign currency and trading in cash.
“At around 7pm on the day, police arrived at Big C car wash where he operates his business. Upon arrival, police found the accused person seated in his vehicle,” said Mr Matyasira.
“After introducing themselves, the detectives informed Mashangwa that he was facing allegations of unlawfully hoarding cash. They conducted a search and recovered the cash which was in a satchel in the back seat of his vehicle.”
In his defence, Mashangwa argued that he was a car dealer.
“I am the owner of Mashwin Investments, which specialises in car hire services, selling and buying cars,” he said. “On that particular day, I had sold two cars and had also received money to purchase a vehicle in South Africa.
“When I received that money, it was already in the late hours. I could not bank it since the banks were closed.”
When Mr Matyasira asked him why he had not availed the information to the police during his arrest, Mashangwa said he was overwhelmed.
“I was overwhelmed by the many officers who approached me,” he said. “It came as a shock because I have never been in that situation before.”
Mashangwa was found not guilty after he managed to present evidence that he was involved in a car business, which appeased the court.
Mr Mahwe considered that Mashangwa provided witnesses who had bought the cars.