Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government will invoke the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act to fight high-profile corruption cases as part of a cocktail of measures to combat graft, legislators have heard.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said conviction of high profile individuals has not been easy because most of them had the means to fight back.
He said invoking the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act was one of the easiest routes to fight graft because it places the onus on the accused person to prove their source of wealth.
Minister Ziyambi said this in the National Assembly on Wednesday while responding to questions from legislators during the Question and Answer Session.
Proportionate Representative MP, Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC-T) had asked why there was not much conviction of high profile cases.
She said legislators were beginning to doubt the seriousness and political will of Government to fight corruption.
In response, Minister Ziyambi said Government was committed to fighting corruption, but there were many legal processes involved.
“What we also have to appreciate is that those that are termed ‘high profile’ are people with means that can use every available legal recourse at their disposal.
“So we would find that in most of the high profile cases, several court applications are made by the accused and that is legal because those processes are allowed,” he said.
Minister Ziyambi said they have noted the need of close working relations between the arresting details and the prosecution to avoid premature arrests.
However, Minister Ziyambi said he was happy that the National Assembly had passed an amendment to the anti-money laundering law to have a provision for asset forfeiture.
Said Minister Ziyambi: “This is an easy route to follow where the onus is on the person to prove where they got the wealth from and if they fail, then those assets are forfeited to the State.
“So we are going to use several avenues to ensure that we deal with corruption cases, but indeed, corruption cases are not very easy to prosecute as they involve people with means and those people will use every available legal process to ensure that they stall the process.”
Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa also asked Minister Ziyambi to respond to comments attributed to Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi that some State institutions were captured.
But Minister Ziyambi said Mr Hodzi had told him that he had been quoted out of context.
“The first thing that I want to say is that the Prosecutor-General never said that ‘the prosecution is captured’.
“Secondly, the Prosecutor-General believes that he was quoted out of context. Thirdly, Mr Speaker, if I am captured, it does not translate to the Prosecutor-General being captured.
“As an individual, I am answerable for my own deeds, so if I do some misdemeanors, perhaps that is what the Prosecutor-General referred to, but in conversation with him, he believes that he was misquoted and what was reported which is what the Honourable Member is quoting — he was misquoted because they did not take in context what he was saying,” said Minister Ziyambi.