22 July 2024 | 03:08 AM

Fugitive held for R3,4bn scam

Key Takeaways

Congolese fugitive from justice Nozi Mwamba was arrested in Johannesburg last Wednesday night based on an international arrest warrant.

Mwamba helped facilitate the Congolese oil rights co-owned by the Moseneke family’s Encha Group and the Divine Inspiration Group of South African businesswoman Andrea Brown.

Mwamba served as a consultant to Divine Inspiration.

Musa Zondi, the Hawks spokesperson, confirmed the arrest but would provide no further details.

The Mail & Guardian understands Mwamba was arrested at the popular [email protected] TV nightspot in Sandton in which he has an interest.

Earlier this year the Brussels Appeal Court sentenced Nozi Mwamba, who lives in South Africa and his native Democratic Republic of Congo, to six years’ imprisonment in absentia.

He was sentenced for his involvement in a massive fake currency scam. The fraud, spanning four continents, involved the production and attempted laundering of 140-million Bahraini dinars (about R3,4-billion).

At the time Mwamba’s lawyer, Pierre Chomé, said he was appealing against the sentence, but confirmed there was an active warrant out for Mwamba’s arrest in Belgium.

It is not clear if the appeal has been concluded.

It is understood he has also been convicted in absentia in a similar trial in France.

In November last year the M&G revealed Judge Dikgang Moseneke’s wide-ranging investments via his family trust, which owns Encha.

The M&G also highlighted the controversy surrounding Encha investments, including the oil deal.

Moseneke insists he did not compromise judicial ethics or his independence. There is no suggestion he personally interacted with Mwamba.

The alleged counterfeit operation in 1998 involved the printing of the dinars, supposedly for the official use of the Bahraini government.

An established Argentinian banknote printer, Ciccone Calcographica, was allegedly conned into printing nearly eight tonnes of banknotes by a group of individuals purporting to represent the Bahrain monetary agency.

Mwamba, also known as Nozy Richard Mouamba Mounanga, allegedly served as an intermediary, introducing the purported official Bahraini representatives to Ciccone.

One of those who claimed to be a special representative of the Bahrain monetary agency was actually a Bahraini taxi driver.

Once printed, the dinars were transported on three flights from Argentina — but not to Bahrain. Two flights delivered banknotes to Chad and one to Niger in May and June 1998, which Mwamba allegedly helped arrange. Soon, the dinars were being changed in, among other places, Belgium and France, which led to the scam being uncovered.

Brown, who could not be reached for comment, earlier denied Mwamba was guilty of any crime.

“The allegations about the nature of Mwamba’s involvement are incorrect.

“He was not on any flight with the printed notes, he was not involved in trying to change any Bahrain dinars, he had no relationship with any representatives of the Bahrain Monetary Authority. Mwamba was only the official representative of Ciccone,” she said.

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Buyeleni Sibanyoni and Sam Sole

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