Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Micro Finance Bill — which allows for investigation and seizure of wealth from individuals suspected to have clandestinely accumulated riches — will be gazetted this Friday before the legislative process commences the following week, a Cabinet minister has revealed.
Last year, President Mnangagwa gazetted the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act) Regulations which empower Government to seize unexplained wealth.
The development later saw Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube incorporating the measures in the 2019 Budget, before legislators sought the matter be treated differently since it was not a finance issue.
In an interview, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the Bill has been developed to deal with “unexplained wealth” and will be gazetted on Friday before it is introduced in Parliament next week.
The new legislation will authorise the High Court to issue an unexplained wealth order on properties of individuals.
The country has witnessed a surge in individuals who accumulate wealth overnight, amid concern over high corruption activity.
“Under the Presidential Power (Temporary Measures), regulations to do with unexplained wealth where upon application to the Judge, the police can get order compelling someone to explain where got his/her wealth. If that person fails to do so, the ill-gotten worth will be forfeited.
“So we have been amending the Micro Finance Act to incorporate that to give legal effect when we want to forfeit wealth one can’t explain. The (Micro Finance) Bill will be gazetted this Friday. Before Parliament it should go next week and legislative process will then commence,” he said.
Officially commissioning the fifth specialised anti-corruption court for in the country in Gweru on Friday, Minister Ziyambi said corruption was hitting the poor mostly since they cannot pay bribes.
“As minister in charge of the administration of justice, I take immense pride in that all these institutions have fully embraced His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe’s clarion call for a corruption free Zimbabwe in order for the country to attract increased Foreign Direct Investments,” he said.
Last week President Mnangagwa called for a fierce fight against corruption at all levels for economic turnaround to be achieved.
Briefing journalists soon after ZANU-PF’s 329th ordinary session of the Politburo, the party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo said President Mnangagwa demanded that corruption be fought while productivity was also enhanced “to turn around the fortunes of the country’s economy”.