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Friday, February 1, 2019

Zimbabwean cash crunch ! ~ 3 accused of stealing crore of currency from Mugabe

Prescript :  1)  A couple of decades ago, the Nation was rocked by scandals -  According to a chargesheet, CBI investigations revealed that Narasimha Rao, Satish Sharma, Buta Singh, Suraj Mandal, Shibu Soren, Simon Marandi, Shailendra Mahto and other unknown persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy to defeat the no-confidence motion against the then Congress government.  In July that time, Mandal received three gunny sacks and one suitcase in the morning.  The sacks and the suitcase containing hard cash  were unloaded and taken to the flat of an employee -    and after counting the cash,  they were transferred to  four suitcases.

Years later,  former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, `Godman' Chandraswami and his associate K.N. Agarwal alias Mamaji were  acquitted of all charges by a special CBI court here in the 15-year-old Lakhubhai Pathak cheating case. Pronouncing his verdict in a courtroom set up at the high-security Vigyan Bhavan annexe, the special judge, Dinesh Dayal, said, "I find that Lakhubhai Pathak's evidence is not reliable and it has not been corroborated. His evidence has been constantly changing and there have been contradictions on vital aspects of the case. The inordinate delay in filing the case has not been explained by the prosecution."  - those days, the Q raised was can crores of Rupees fit into a suit case !!  ~ the currency and suitcase !!!

PS 2:  June 9, 1983. In one of the biggest upsets in the history of World Cup cricket, Zimbabwe, playing their first ever match in the tournament, beat Australia by 13 runs. They were unknown. They were unheralded. They were there to make up the numbers. They had won the ICC Trophy a year earlier, but who cared? Least of all the proud Australians. After all, Test playing nations were a different order altogether. West Indies remained the giants of cricket, England and Australia still balanced the power axis. Pakistan could be considered a dark horse and no more. Even India and New Zealand were not taken seriously.  But, therein lay an unnoticed caveat. Before gaining independence in 1980, Zimbabwe existed as Rhodesia, and it was in that guise they participated in the gruelling South African Currie Cup.  Their skipper was  Duncan Fletcher. A jovial 34-year-old left handed all-rounder, he was a far cry from the unsmiling, jowly, taciturn coach that he was to turn later.  India too were in spot of bother reeling at 17/5 before that great knock by Kapil Dev [epic 175 not out] saved them. 

Miles away, this politician was 73 when child, Chatunga was born.  If nothing else, he has always been an extremely proud man. He often said he would only step down when his "revolution" was complete. He was referring to the redistribution of white-owned land but he also wanted to hand-pick his successor, who would of course have had to come from the ranks !!  Robert Mugabe, who led the country's liberation movement, was in power from independence in 1980 until he was ousted in November last year at the age of 93. His years in office, first as prime minister until the switch to a presidential system in 1987, were marked by economic turmoil and the crushing of dissent.

For some, he will always remain a hero who brought independence and an end to white-minority rule. Even those who forced him out blamed his wife and "criminals" around him. But to his growing number of critics, this highly educated, wily politician became the caricature of an African dictator, who destroyed an entire country in order to keep his job. In the end, it was the security forces, who had been instrumental in intimidating the opposition and keeping him in power, who made him go. They were incensed when he sacked his long-time ally, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his much younger wife Grace to succeed him, fearing it meant the end for them as the powers behind the throne.

He had survived numerous previous crises and predictions of his demise but with his powers failing at the age of 93, his former comrades-in-arms turned on him, favouring Mr Mnangagwa. Before the 2008 elections, Mr Mugabe said: "If you lose an election and are rejected by the people, it is time to leave politics." But after coming second to Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr Mugabe displayed more characteristic defiance, swearing that "only God" could remove him from office. And just to be sure, violence was unleashed to preserve his grip on power.  The key to understanding Mr Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war where he made his name.

In modern day Zimbabwe, people are suffering. Inflation is too much. Every minute, every hour, every day, the prices are just changing," said a wholesale trader.  KFC has closed its local outlets citing "these difficult times," while supermarkets have been rationing some items, and mining companies and other key exporters are complaining about a lack of access to foreign exchange reserves. At a time, when currency crisis has hit people hard, three  people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe, accused of stealing a suitcase containing $150,000 (£117,600) (Rs.1.06 crores)  of cash from the country's ousted president, Robert Mugabe.

The suspected thieves allegedly spent the money on cars, homes and animals. A relative of the ex-president, Constantia Mugabe, is among the accused, government-owned media report. She allegedly had keys to Mr Mugabe's rural home in Zvimba, near the capital Harare, and gave the others access. The other suspects were employed as cleaners at the time of the theft, which allegedly happened some time between 1 December and early January. "Johanne Mapurisa bought a Toyota Camry... and a house for $20,000 after the incident," state prosecutor Teveraishe Zinyemba told Chinhoyi magistrates court. "Saymore Nhetekwa also bought a Honda... and livestock which included pigs and cattle for an undisclosed amount."

Mr Mugabe, now is  94, and had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president. Once famously claiming that a country could never go bankrupt, he was accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while presiding over Zimbabwe's economic collapse. US dollars are highly prized in Zimbabwe. In theory, the local "bond notes" that banks dispense are equal to the US currency - but in reality they buy much less. Since retiring, Mr Mugabe has had difficulty walking and has spent several months in Singapore for medical treatment. It is unclear if he was at home while the theft took place.  The three suspects have been released on bail. The AFP news agency reports that a fourth is still at large.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Jan 2019.

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