Zacc digs in heels on big­wigs’ cor­rup­tion probes

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THE Zim­babwe Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (Zacc) says there is no go­ing back on prob­ing cor­rup­tion by big­wigs as the con­sti­tu­tional man­date they are ex­e­cut­ing has the back­ing of the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net.

Ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists in Harare yes­ter­day, Zacc Com­mis­sioner in charge of in­ves­ti­ga­tions Mr Good­son Nguni said “le­gal gym­nas­tics” be­ing played by some se­nior Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials would not stop the anti-graft body from ex­e­cut­ing its du­ties. “We’re not back­track­ing on any­thing,” he said. “The story that came out in the pri­vate media say­ing Zacc was clash­ing with the OPC is full of false­hoods. The OPC has been very sup­port­ive of the Com­mis­sion, they’ve never in­ter­fered in what we’re do­ing here.

“The Pres­i­dent is very clear, he doesn’t be­lieve in cor­rup­tion and he is of the view that any­one ac­cused should carry his cross and must go to court with their lawyers present to de­fend them­selves. We’re not fac­ing any ob­sta­cles. In the Gov­ern­ment’s 10-Point Plan, anti-cor­rup­tion strate­gies are outlined there. Some of­fi­cials can play le­gal gym­nas­tics, but that will not take mat­ters away from them.”

Zacc has in the past weeks upped the anti-graft fight, prob­ing sev­eral Min­is­ters and paras­tatals ac­cused of loot­ing pub­lic funds.

Chief among those ac­cused is Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr God­frey Gan­dawa.

The duo stands ac­cused of di­vert­ing $430 000 from the Zim­babwe Man­power De­vel­op­ment Fund meant for ter­tiary stu­dents.

The money was si­phoned through shelf com­pa­nies some owned by Dr Gan­dawa.

Said Com­mis­sioner Nguni: “Of­fi­cials can use the pri­vate media to at­tack Zacc, but we’ve a con­sti­tu­tional man­date to carry out, and that we are do­ing and will never stop un­til cor­rup­tion is erad­i­cated or re­duced.”

He said Zacc was not tar­get­ing in­di­vid­u­als but would swoop on every­one ac­cused of cor­rup­tion.

“The rea­son why you know about some of the cases we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing is that some of the peo­ple are rush­ing to the media them­selves and we end up re­act­ing,” Com­mis­sioner Nguni said.

“We’re not tar­get­ing any­one but know that if you steal pub­lic funds, Zacc will come af­ter you.”

Com­mis­sioner Nguni dis­missed re­ports that Zacc had di­verted $51 000 from a Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe (RBZ)funded project to send its two of­fi­cials to Hong Kong.

The two Com­mis­sion­ers are Cather­ine Muchechetere and Farai Mashon­ganyika-Chinyani.

“The story in News­day con­tained lies, half-truths and to­tal fab­ri­ca­tions,” Com­mis­sioner Nguni said.

“There is no RBZ-funded project at Zacc, mean­ing no money was di­verted to send two com­mis­sion­ers to Hong Kong. On Oc­to­ber 4, 2016, the full com­ple­ment of Zacc com­pris­ing chair­per­son Dr Job Whabira, the deputy chair Dr Nanette Silukhuni and six other com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved that all the com­mis­sion­ers must at­tend the most pres­ti­gious best prac­tice in­sti­tu­tion on anti-cor­rup­tion strate­gies in Hong Kong.

“It was agreed that the com­mis­sion­ers go in two groups. The first com­prised of Com­mis­sion­ers Chinyani, Cathy Muchechetere and my­self. The oth­ers com­pris­ing of Dr Silukhuni, Com­mis­sion­ers Chris­tine Fundira and Boy­ana Ndou will at­tend the next course in April 2017. It was agreed that Zacc would pay all the ex­penses.”

He said in the ab­sence of a cheque book, a credit card was duly given to the Com­mis­sion with sig­na­to­ries to the re­spec­tive ac­count be­ing Dr Silukhuni, Dr Muchechetere, Com­mis­sioner Chinyani and act­ing sec­re­tary Mr Si­las Pondo.

“It is also a lie that the Com­mis­sion’s money was used to buy air tick­ets for the Com­mis­sion­ers’ spouses. News­day fur­ther al­leges that the Com­mis­sion needed au­thor­ity from Trea­sury which was de­nied. This is a lie be­cause Zacc can ac­cess its CBZ ac­count with­out Trea­sury au­thor­ity as long as autho­rised sig­na­to­ries are present.”

Mr Good­son Nguni

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