South African-based Malawian billionaire businessman Ashan Simbi Phiri of civil engineering company, Khato Civils,has been cleared by Botswana anti-corruption unit, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime,of money laundering charges.
The Botswana anti-corruption unit obtained a restraining order in April 2016 that froze Khato Civils accounts pending an investigation on money-laundering charges.
The directorate decided to investigate Phiri after he deposited $886 000 cash from South Africa into the Stannic Bank account of Khato Civils.
It alleged that Phiri did not declare $86 000 of the amount at the border gate. They also alleged that Phiri entered Botswana on July 26 2015 and declared $300 000, but deposited $500 000 in the bank.
Phiri insisted that it was an oversight on his part to under-declare but there was nothing underhanded, because he took the money legally from forex agencies in South Africa and had documents to prove it. Hence, there was no criminal case against him in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Botswana anti-corruption unit has established that Simbi followed appropriate procedures, its spokesperson, Nlayidzi Gambule, confirmed.
Botswana’s daily newspaper, Mmegi, reported that the anti-corruption unit investigating officer Mompolaki Rapulane, in his affidavid at the High Court in Gaberone, submitted that Simbi had followed “due process” in requesting for foreign currency from South Africa Reserve Bank.
The company also has a $500 million water contract in Malawi. His company will pump water fro Lake Malawi in Salima to the capital city Lilongwe.
Simbi’s spokesperson in Malawi, Taonga Botolo, said Khato is pleased that their boss has been “vindicated”.
He said the bad publicity and charges stemmed from “work of detractors”.
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