Mnangagwa goes hard on corrupt bigwigs

Mnangagwa goes hard on corrupt bigwigs
Published: 05 July 2019
ZIMBABWE's reconstituted anti-corruption watchdog has now found its teeth with new commission chair Loice Matanda-Moyo saying they are going after high-profile cases in a bid to stamp out graft. Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) boss said no stone would be left unturned as they hunt down all corruption-accused persons, whom she said must be brought to book.

The campaign got off to an incredible start yesterday, with the arraigning of former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo and Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) finance director Simon Taranhike before the courts. Chombo is assisting Zacc with investigations on an undisclosed matter, while Taranhike has been hauled over the coals concerning his alleged misdemeanours at Zinara.

Matanda- Moyo told the news conference corruption, not sanctions, was the root cause of economic decay in Zimbabwe, adding she is determined to uproot the scourge. "I can confirm that the economic challenges being experienced in this country are mainly as a result of corruption. Once we join hands in fighting corruption, we will win, and our economic challenges will disappear," she said.

The former director of public prosecution in the Attorney General's office said the anti-corruption effort will not only focus on issues such as bribery and abuse of public money to fund lavish lifestyles: It will also take aim at State enterprises and parastatals, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

"Whilst other countries are closing their prisons for lack of clients, Zimbabwe prisons will be open for business," Matanda-Moyo said.

"Our modus operandi is to leave no stone unturned to ensure that everybody who is engaging in corrupt activities is brought to book," added the tough-talking new anti-corruption tsar, who is also wife of Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

Zacc, which was granted arresting powers by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week, said the crackdown will spare no-one.
Matanda-Moyo, who is also a former High Court judge, said her organisation will engage the Zimbabwe Republic Police to reach an understanding on matters that can be handled by police and Zacc.

"We have already started thoroughly investigating these high profile cases. As you can see, we have already referred the Zinara case for trial today. It is the beginning of a series of cases of that nature," Matanda-Moyo said. The anti-corruption body has since received 38 cases, with 10 of them involving high profile people. The breadth of the expanded campaign has created uncertainty and even fear for some.

Since coming to power in 2017, Mnangagwa has pledged a sweeping corruption crackdown, vowing to target elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats. His corruption battle could prove popular with a public fed up with tales of top civil servants boozing it up on taxpayers' money or taking bribes to approve projects.

Matanda-Moyo said her office was already seized with the Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri's report which exposed graft in parastatals, government ministries as well as municipalities around the country. "We acknowledge receiving the recent report of the AG and the contents of the report give rise to a very reasonable suspicious of incidences of corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and improper conduct in the public sector.

"Zacc has opened active investigations in respect of all ministries, government departments, State enterprises and parastatals implicated with a view to bringing to book, all those implicated in any and all acts of corruption," she said. Zacc will also probe corruption allegations raised by the Zanu-PF youth league against ruling party bigwigs and private company executives.

She said: "We have also taken note of the trending list of alleged corrupt top government and Zanu-PF officials by the Zanu-PF youths. We are summoning the youth league to give evidence of corruption against those implicated with a view to prosecuting such corruption."

The Zacc boss said they would develop new strategies to crush anticipated passive resistance to the campaign, noting some officials still dream the anti-corruption drive will lose steam. Matanda-Moyo acknowledged that Zacc lacked an investigating crack team that is sophisticated, well-paid and technically-sound to conduct thorough investigations, asset tracking and asset recovery.

The commission, she said, will liaise with their counterparts in Tanzania, Mauritius, Botswana and Zambia to see how they can best equip their officers so that they can live up to their task.
The Zacc boss said some high profile figures were in the habit of concealing ill-gotten wealth by donating it as tithe in churches.

She said: "The commission wishes to highlight that some proceeds of crime have been diverted to churches in the name of tithing. We call upon church leaders to support the anti-corruption drive by scrutinising the source of donations they receive."
- dailynews
Tags: Mnangagwa,


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