The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has thrown out an application for bail pending appeal in a case where three directors of Heritage Coin Resources Limited were recently sentenced to two years’ simple imprisonment for money laundering offences involving over K28 million.
Last month, Magistrate Humphrey Chitalu jailed Hilda Agnes Raubenheimer, 35, a businesswoman of Salama Park; Orient Rio Zekko, 29, a secretary of Ibex Hill and Tapiwa Chirwa, 40, a managing director of Avondale, after they pleaded guilty to six counts of obtaining money by false pretences, money laundering, amongst other offences.
The court had further fined the company, Heritage Coin Resources Limited, K150,000 for providing financial services without a license.
It also granted an application by the State for restitution to the affected depositors.
The court ordered that the K15,312,182,40, which was seized by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) should superintend the payment process.
However, the three directors, through their lawyer, appealed against the court’s judgement.
The trio also applied for bail pending appeal on grounds that their appeal in the higher court was likely to succeed.
They had submitted that if they were kept in jail, the restitution order maybe thrown in jeopardy.
The trio added that by the time the High Court ruled over their appeal, they would have served a substantial part of their jail term since the appeal cases took long to be heard.
However, in his ruling, Magistrate Chitalu threw out the application, saying the reasons raised were not justifiable.
“The applicants have not disclosed exceptional circumstances to warrant bail pending appeal,” Magistrate Chitalu ruled.
He further said it was misconceived and absurd for the applicants to claim that their continued incarceration may render the restitution order and partial repayment of stakeholders a nullity.
In this matter, it was alleged in count one that Heritage Coin Resources Limited conducted banking business without a licence.
Particulars of the offence alleged that between June 1 and October 15 last year, the company provided financial services to the public without a licence.
In the second count, Chirwa, Raubenheimer and Zekko were accused of conducting banking business without a licence.
Particulars of the offence alleged that between June 1 and October 15 last year, the trio conducted banking business without a license.
In the third count, Heritage Coin Resources Limited was accused of conducting a money circulation scheme contrary to the Banking and Financial Services Act between June 1 and October 15 last year.
In count four, Chirwa, Raubenheimer and Zekko were accused of conducting a money circulation scheme contrary to the Banking and Financial Services Act.
Particulars of the offence alleged that between June 1 and October 15 last year, Chirwa, Raubenheimer and Zekko, being Heritage Coin Resources Limited directors or shareholders, issued documents inviting the public to subscribe to a money circulating scheme.
In the fifth count, Chirwa, Raubenheimer and Zekko were accused of obtaining money by false pretences.
It was alleged that June 1 and October 15 last year, the trio, with intent to deceive and defraud, obtained K28,346,800 from members of the public by falsely pretending that the money was cryptocurrencies trade when in fact not.