Econet strikes down the Search Warrant.

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Econet Wireless Zimbabwe
courtesy of TheZimbabweIndependent

Econet Wireless’ Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Mboweni filed an Urgent Chamber application in the High Court on 21 July 2020 for a stay on execution following Magistrate’s decision issue the CID a Warrant of Search and Seizure to the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited on 17 July 2020.

Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner, General Godwin Matanga, Mkhululi Nyoni (2nd respondent) and Magistrate Richard Maboa (3rd respondent).On July 17 2020, the 2nd respondent, give an oath to an affidavit stating that he is investigating allegations of violations of the Money Laundering Act and Proceeds of Crime Act (Chapter9:24) by the Applicant. Based on the affidavit, the 3rd respondent issued a Warrant of Search and Seizure against the applicant authorising any peace officer to search and seize unnamed premises of the Applicant for all subscriber/customer information in its database, all financial statements showing monetary transactions and summary of transient e-money/airtime credit sales.

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In contrary to Mkhululi Nyoni’s assertions, the Econet CEO argues that Econet doesn’t have subsidiaries; doesn’t have a category of customers/subscribers known as merchants; billers and agents; the Econet network can’t credit any money to its subscribers. He argues Econet can only credit airtime to subscribers and that this airtime can’t be converted into any sum of money. Nyoni noted these as Econet customers when in fact they are relevant to EcoCash operations. Mboweni says this shows that Nyoni copied allegations laid against Econet by government officials a few weeks ago.

CEO continue arguing that, the Warrant of Search and Seizure is unlawful and it constitutes a violation of the Applicant’s right to privacy and also the right to privacy of the Applicant’s subscribers. There is a written statement that is part of the Urgent Chamber application, Mboweni argues that the state is using its powers to interfere with the rights of the subscriber. The issuance of warrants of search and seizure is one of the tools that has been used by the state and its officials to unlawfully interfere with the rights to privacy and rights to dignity.

The Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited is raising argument against the warrant of search and seizure, therefore, filed an Urgent of Chamber, Econet is still waiting for the court to give the response.

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