Guma accuses OP of ‘unlawful’ bank account freeze
Tati East Member of Parliament (MP) Samson Guma Moyo has accused the Office of the President (OP) of irregularly freezing his bank accounts. This he did in a responding affidavit to an ongoing court battle where the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is accusing him and Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng of conniving with a Chinese company Synohydro in acts of bribery and money laundering.
Guma appealed that at the time when the court instructed a bank freeze, the court was merely regularizing the freezing of a bank account that had already been frozen irregularly by the OP.
“The State had already given itself the order and executed that order and it is apparent that the intentions of Standard Chartered Bank was to legitimize what has been illegitimately achieved by self-help of the OP without regards to court at all,” Guma argued in his affidavit.
Guma states that there are no reasons for his accusations save for OP wanting to cripple and paralyze his businesses and therefore wants the case thrown out with costs.
The DCEC counter argued that Guma’s accusations are incorrect since Section 24 of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Act was exercised as there was reasonable suspicion that an amount of money in excess of P25 million that was paid to Guma’s account was not justified and could be proceeds from illicit activities. The corruption buster also accuses Guma of falsifying share certificate documents.
DCEC alleges that when Guma signed consultancy agreements with Synohydro on 20 January 2013, on a Sunday, it was long after the Kariba South Power Station in Zimbabwe was awarded as far back as 9 November 2012.
The corruption buster also accuses Guma of paying over P100 000 to Matibenga Gondo who is alleged to have at some point been investigated for fraud but was never charged in 2003. DCEC reveals that Gondo is a director in Alucraft Entreprises and is also a signatory witness in Guma’s contract agreement with Synohydro.
According to court records seen by The Botswana Gazette, Guma paid P100 000 to Gondo and then another P12.6 million to Alucraft Entreprises in 2014.
Documents show that on 03/12/2014, a company called Hollard & Hausberger Ltd was paid P1.1 million and it was explained as payment for a “study for a coal to liquid plant.” The court documents point out that Guma is a director of Coal Petroleum Ltd. According to the court papers, on 09/12/2014, P23 400 was transferred from Guma’s Standard Chartered Bank account to a certain B Jamali while Motlatsi Sello was to pocket an unexplained P124 000. On December 12, 2014, Jan Haram Botha and Bibian Ventures also received payments from Guma of P160 000 (rental) and P128 000 (plot sale) respectively.
Court records also reveal that on 11 December 2014 Olopeng was paid P3.2 million by Guma. The DCEC has called false Guma’s explanation that the payment to Olopeng was for share purchase because Olopeng only resigned from the directorship of Leasing Services Ltd but not as shareholder.
While he purchased his P1.3 million worth limited edition Range Rover a few months after the Chinese payments, Guma does agree that some of the millions in his account was for a job he consulted for Synohydro.
The unprecedented clash between President Ian Khama’s men, Olopeng and Guma has culminated to a subject of investigation by the DCEC and a court debacle that has since seen the tax collecting agency demanding payment of over P33 million from Standard Chartered Bank.
The Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) General Manager Compliance, Kaone Molapo instructed the bank to pay a sum of P33.2 million being tax due from the account holders.
BURS accused Guma of owing P21 382 104.00 income tax and P11 833 804.00 in VAT and Olopeng a sum of P975 723.39. BURS declared that as an agent of Guma and Olopeng, Standard Chartered must pay the owed tax money within 15 days of notification an instruction which the bank has since declined on grounds that the Village Magistrate court has issued a direct order that the funds be transferred into a frozen interest bearing account pending the case.