Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The National Prosecuting Authority has fallen on hard times as it struggles to pay rent for Corner House Building in Harare resulting in an outstanding bill of $146 000. When the National Prosecuting Authority Act became operational in January this year and the independent authority recruited its own secretariat, Government saw it fit to move them from the New Government Complex to some rented offices at Corner House.
Prosecutors moved into the new building in March this year, but the NPA is facing challenges in paying rent.
Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana revealed the information on Wednesday at the official handover of the same building from Government to the NPA. The bills have ballooned to those levels barely four months after the NPA took occupation of the building.
Appealing to Vice President and Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs overseer Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa for financial assistance, Mr Tomana revealed that the bill now stood at $146 000.
“While we applaud our permanent secretary for the support we are being given, I want to call upon the accounting office to continue paying more attention to us in terms of the financial aspect.
“I say so because as I speak to you Sir, we are in rental arrears for this building to the tune of $146 000, which is not a very nice starting point . . .” said Mr Tomana.
However, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza assured Mr Tomana that Treasury was addressing the problem and the debt would soon be cleared.
“The Treasury is very much aware of the problem and it is being addressed. Our plan is to clear the debt and to ensure payments are done six months in advance,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
Vice President Mnangagwa said Government would work towards constructing a building for the NPA to avoid renting other people’s properties.
He said the rented building for NPA was only a starting point for the newly established authority, but Government was planning to buy a building to accommodate prosecutors.
“This is the first of many steps to build the capacity of the NPA and hopefully in the short to medium term, it will buy its own building to be used as its headquarters. It is our vision that the NPA will be accommodated in its own premises throughout the country and that all its officers be housed in habitable offices,” said VP Mnangagwa.
VP Mnangagwa added that Government was trying to find ways of addressing all the challenges facing the NPA.
“Government is aware of the challenges faced by officers of the NPA and let me assure you that we are tirelessly looking for ways to address your conditions of service,” he said.
At the same occasion, Chinese Ambassador Cde Lin Lin handed over a donation of 20 desktop computers, 10 laptops and five printers to the NPA.
VP Mnangagwa hailed the Chinese government for the donation, saying it strengthened the good relations between the two governments.
“Let me now also thank the Chinese government represented here by Ambassador Lin Lin for their generous donation of computers and printers.
“On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to our all-weather friends from China.
“This generous donation is testimony of the good relations between the Government of Zimbabwe and the government of the People’s Republic of China . . .”
Mr Tomana said he had visited all NPA offices countrywide and realised the need to capacitate the authority for more efficiency. “We have travelled countrywide and we realised that the situation on the ground requires capacitation.
“The stations are working, but with improved capacitation, we can do better,” he said. Ambassador Lin said China would continue assisting Zimbabwe in line with the two countries’ bilateral relations.