Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
FORMER Director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma has been arrested for criminal abuse of office after he allegedly imported a fleet of vehicles without paying duty, as the anti-corruption drive gathers momentum.
He reportedly imported personal vehicles under the pretext that he was doing so for the State to evade paying excise duty.
Tapfuma was last year reassigned as Principal Director Monitoring and Evaluation in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
He becomes the second high-profile Government figure to be arrested by the newly-constituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) after Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira was arrested last Thursday.
ZACC commissioner in charge of investigations, Mr Frank Muchengwa, confirmed the arrest, saying Tapfuma will appear in court today.
“I can confirm that Douglas Tapfuma has been arrested and he is spending a night at Mabelreign Police Station.
“He is accused of unlawfully importing a number of vehicles using the name of the State.
“He made people to believe that he was importing the vehicles on behalf of the State, when the cars were his. He then brought in the vehicles without paying duty,” said Comm Muchengwa.
A report by a private daily newspaper last year indicated that Tapfuma was abusing President Mnangagwa’s name and using letters from the President’s Office to facilitate the importation of vehicles for friends and relatives duty-free.
The same letters were also allegedly being used to evade paying Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) tollgate fees.
Additionally, Tapfuma was fingered in some alleged corrupt deals, including the “disappearance” of $6,4 million at Hwange Colliery.
ZACC, which recently got arresting powers, is walking the talk on the arrest of bigwigs, with Minister Mupfumira being the first big catch.
President Mnangagwa on July 15 overhauled ZACC, appointing Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as chairperson. Eight other commissioners, who succeeded in public interviews held recently, were sworn-in to work with Justice Matanda-Moyo.
The new commission, unlike the previous one, has powers to arrest suspects. Justice Matanda-Moyo recently vowed to fight corruption, indicating that a number of bigwigs were already under investigation.
She said ZACC was investigating over 200 cases of corruption-related crimes emanating from a varied spectrum of the economy, adding that arrests would be effected.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said her commission was on a mission to aggressively fight corruption and was different from previous bodies given that it was now headed by a judicial officer.
In her maiden media address, Justice Matanda-Moyo said ZACC had received the latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report and investigations had already commenced in respect of all ministries, parastatals and State entities implicated in corruption and misappropriation of funds.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the AG’s report creates the basis for investigations into corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and or any other improper conduct committed in the public sector.
She said a number of high-profile cases were being investigated.
ZACC’s first catch, Mupfumira, is in remand prison for 21 days to allow investigators to do their work without her interference.