Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has received the latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report and investigations have already commenced in respect of all ministries, parastatals and State entities implicated in corruption and misappropriation of funds, the commission’s chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, has said.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the AG’s report creates the basis for investigations into corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and or any other improper conduct committed in the public sector.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Justice Matanda-Moyo said at least 38 corruption reports had so far been received by ZACC since her assumption of duty, of which 10 are high-profile cases.
All the convicts, Justice Matanda-Moyo said, will have their assets forfeited to the State.
“We also acknowledge receiving the recent report of the Auditor- General of Zimbabwe, tabled in Parliament.
“The contents of the report give rise to a very reasonable suspicion of incidencies of either corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and/or other improper conduct in the public sector.
“ZACC has opened active investigations in respect of all ministry, Government departments, State enterprises and parastatals in the report with a view to bringing to book those
implicated in any acts of corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improper conduct,” Justice Matanda-Moyo said.
Justice Matanda Moyo said there was need to review the ministries’ control over parastatals to minimise corruption-related cases.
“Equally, companies run by majority shareholders or family business are of serious concern interms of their adherence to corporate governance principles.
“The government needs to urgently review the powers of ministries over State Enterprises and Parastatals under the purview to stem out this culture of looting in these State Enterprises and Parastatals by parent ministries,” Justice Matanda-Moyo said.
She said the of the 38 cases brought to ZACC recently, which involves suspended Zinara finance director Simon Taranhike has since been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority.
Taranhike appeared in court yesterday charged with criminal abuse of office.
Justice Matanda-Moyo expressed concern over an attempt by some individuals in “higher offices” to throw spanner on the way of the investigators in Taranhike’s case.
She said all those who resist or try to protect the suspects will be charged for defeating the course of justice.
“I am however, concerned that during these investigations, ZACC officers met resistance from some individuals in offices of high authority.
“Let everyone be warned that ZACC will not hesitate to do all in its power to ensure that every case is investigated diligently without fear or favour.
“ZACC will, in future, prefer charges of obstructing the course of justice to anyone interfering with investigations. Be warned!” she said.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said ZACC will leave no stone unturned in the fight against corruption.
ZACC, the judge said, was prepared to ensure all the corrupt ones are jailed.
“If ZACC is to deal with every matter reported, then our prisons should be expanded in order to accommodate the culprits.
“ While other countries are closing their prisons for lack of clients, Zimbabwe prisons will be open for business. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that everybody who is engaging in corrupt activities is brought to book,” she said.
When Justice Matanda-Moyo joined ZACC, no asset recoveries were being done but she has introduced the idea of forfeiting all the ill-gotten wealth.
“It should be known and appreciated within our nation that crime does not pay. In that regard, I call upon the “Powers that be”, to fast track the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill enforcing unexplained wealth orders,” Justice Matanda-Moyo said during a press conference in Harare yesterday.
She added, “The Commission wishes to highlight that some proceeds of crime have been diverted to churches in the name of tithing. We call upon church leaders to support the anti-corruption drive by scrutinizing the source of the donations they receive.”
Justice Matanda-Moyo assured members of the public that whistle blowers will be protected.
“The commission has forwarded to the Attorney General its recommendations for a comprehensive Whistle Blower framework which is in line with the requirements of the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and other best practices.
“ZACC is in the process of activating all its toll free lines which will be manned by dedicated officers,” she said.