Zacc digs in heels on bigwigs’ corruption probes
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