Top ZACC official under probe President Mnangagwa swears-in Retired High Court Judge Justice Maphios Cheda, the chairperson of a three-member tribunal to inquire into the suitability to hold office by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Commissioner John Makamure at State House in Harare yesterday.— Pictures: Believe Nyakudjara.

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

A three-member tribunal chaired by retired High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda, was yesterday sworn in by President Mnangagwa to inquire into the suitability to hold office of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Commissioner John Makamure. 

This followed recommendations from the Judicial Service Commission that there be a tribunal following complaints of improper conduct against Comm Makamure, who is alleged to have failed to disclose his interest as the founder or trustee of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust whose objectives are said to be inconsistent with the functions of ZACC and the Government.

It is also alleged that Comm Makamure directed one Lee Sung to fund his political campaign in Gokwe in return for “protection”.

In a brief interview after being sworn in yesterday, Justice Cheda said work would begin immediately.

“We have just been appointed today. We are still to study the terms of reference. We will have to discuss this tomorrow (today),” said Justice Cheda. 

“What I know is that there has been some allegations of misconduct, that is the reason why the tribunal has been set up.

“We were given up to five months to investigate and draft a report and send it to His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) so it can be less than that or more depending on the complexity of the case.”

Other members of the tribunal who will work with Justice Cheda are Harare lawyer Charles Warara and Regai Thandiwe Hove.

In appointing the tribunal, the President acted in terms of Section 237 (3) of the Constitution which reads: “The procedure for the removal of judges from office applies to the removal from office of a member of an independent commission.”

It also stipulates that a member of an independent commission may be removed from office only on the grounds that the member concerned was unable to perform the functions of his or her office because of physical or mental incapacity, has been grossly incompetent, has been guilty of gross misconduct, or has become ineligible for appointment to the commission concerned.

Comm Makamure becomes the second commissioner from the anti-graft body to be investigated after another tribunal was constituted for Comm Frank Muchengwa.

President Mnangagwa has since fired Comm Muchengwa after recommendations from a tribunal led by retired High Court judge, Nicholas Ndou, concluded that the commissioner was not fit to hold office.

The ZACC Commission was sworn in by President Mnangagwa in July 2019 following public interviews conducted by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda.

ZACC is an independent body in terms of the Constitution and disciplinary procedures governing the body are the same as those relating to judges and the Prosecutor-General.

In the event of a misconduct, an independent tribunal must be set up to investigate and make recommendations to the President.

 The Constitution states that such a tribunal must consist of at least three members appointed by the President and the chairperson must be someone who once served as a judge of the Supreme or High Court.

The swearing in ceremony was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda and other senior Government officials.

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