HARARE – THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) say they have extended their hunt for ill-gotten wealth to scour corruptly earned hidden funds stashed in cryptocurrency.
This comes against the background of the dramatic rise of cryptocurrency which has led to some individuals hiding assets in cryptocurrency where tracking down the funds is not easy.
ZACC, through its asset recovery and forfeiture unit, is in the process of recovering assets worth US$22 million acquired through corrupt means.
“We are also aware that some assets are now being hidden in cryptocurrency but as of now ZACC officers have been trained in that regard,” ZACC commissioner Kuviwa Murapa at an ongoing workshop on progress made in the fight against corruption, facilitated by parliament and funded by the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC).
While older cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum may be easier to track, others like monero, dash, zcash, PIVX, verge, horizen and grin are among the most anonymous cryptocurrency, say experts.
Other challenges may arise when dealing with foreign cryptocurrency exchanges.
Meanwhile, Murapa said the commission has now adopted a strategy that for each criminal inquiry there should be a parallel asset inquiry as well.
“In the countries neighbouring and abroad, the commission has enlisted mutual legal assistance from those jurisdictions to recover assets originating from this country that are parked in those jurisdictions, financial houses, in land, buildings and equipment,” Murapa said.
“It is through in the public domain that through these efforts, assets worth R14 million have been accounted for in South Africa, but that is not all. We continue to investigate and as we do, we are now close to finalising assets of former high ranking civil servants who parked Zimbabwean assets in South Africa.
“We have identified a number of private assets as well whose source of investment income cannot be sufficiently explained, nor are there any tax declarations on these investments either with ZINARA or tax authorities in those countries.
“In this regard SARS, and other tax authorities in America and Europe are assisting ZACC in identifying and possible forfeiture of those assets.”