Thursday, 9 December 2021

WE ARE NOT TO BLAME : ZACC ON TRIAL DELAYS

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has said it cannot be blamed for failure to prosecute high-profile corruption cases and shifted blame to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Addressing a Press briefing in Harare yesterday to commemorate the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said her commission could not be blamed as the anti-corruption body did not have prosecution powers.

 “Zacc’s mandate is just like the police, it only investigates,” she said. “There is this misconception that Zacc prosecutes its matters. Prosecution is the prerogative of the NPA, not the prerogative of Zacc.”

When further asked by NewsDay to explain if Zacc’s lack of prosecution powers had resulted in the collapse of high-profile corruption cases in the country, she said: “It is imperative that the commission is given powers to see out its cases.”

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the NPA’s failure to prosecute high-ranking officials involved in graft has led to the victimisation of whistle-blowers, adding that the government should find a legal framework to protect them.

“Most of the witnesses, as I speak right now, have been suspended from work and others have been transferred to inaccessible areas, making it difficult for Zacc to access some of those witnesses,” she said.

“Zacc has tried to use section 14 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and arrested some of those managers who had victimised witnesses, but in its wisdom, the NPA has refused to prosecute those chief executive officers and those directors. So, it is imperative that as a country we have this legal framework protecting our whistleblowers.”

Some of the high-ranking corruption cases involve senior government officials and former Cabinet ministers.

Most of the cases have collapsed, which has led to the public casting aspersions on Zacc.

The latest high-profile corruption case involved former Health minister Obadiah Moyo, who was recently acquitted over allegations that he corruptly awarded Drax Consult SAGL a US$20 million tender to supply COVID-19 equipment and personal protective equipment without following tender procedures.

Former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was also acquitted of allegations of corruptly parcelling out State land, while former Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira is currently before the courts over allegations that she siphoned US$900 000 National Social Security Authority funds.

Justice Matanda-Moyo also revealed that some companies in the country had been trying to thwart Zacc investigations in cases of graft levelled against them by refusing to hand over documentary evidence. Newsday

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