SACU speaks on ‘catch and release’
Daniel Nemukuyu-Investigations Editor
THE head of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) Mr Tabani Mpofu said the phrase “catch and release” was coined by some elements trying to discredit President Mnangagwa’s anti-graft fight, and suspects who deserve bail are freed by the courts in terms of the law.
Speaking at a recent anti-corruption conference held in Harare, Mr Mpofu said the release of suspects on bail does not amount to “catch and release”.
This followed an attack on the investigators for alleged “catch and release” of corruption suspects.
Judicial officers are the ones who make bail rulings and they do so in terms of the law, said Mr Mpofu.
“Insinuating that those who catch are the ones who release is mischievous. The phrase was coined by people who want to discredit the President’s noble anti-graft fight.
“According to the Constitution, every person is innocent until proven guilty. Bail is a right to all those who qualify. Blasting the Government or investigators over release of suspects on bail is wrong and unfair.
“We may oppose bail as the State, but the Judiciary, which is an independent arm of the State, reviews our arguments and come up with a decision.
“The court may agree or disagree and that is how the criminal justice system operates,” said Mr Mpofu.
Mr Mpofu clarified SACU’s role in the fight against corruption saying only the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the police have arresting powers.
The clarification followed an attack by some people that SACU was acting unconstitutionally. Some even contested SACU’s powers in court, without success.
“As SACU, we are a body established by the President when he got concerned that nothing much was being done in terms of prosecution of corruption cases.
“The problem comes from people who don’t understand how prosecutors operate. When we do our prosecution, we fall directly under the Prosecutor-General, under whose authority we are prosecuting.
“We are not two teams competing with each other. The PG in terms of the Constitution, may direct the Commissioner-General to investigate certain cases. We are not unique in our interaction with the police. We work under the supervision of the PG.
“There are only two entities with the powers to arrest, that is the ZRP and the ZACC,” said Mr Mpofu.