Goba spells out NPA roadmap

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe this week ap­pointed dis­tin­guished lawyer Ad­vo­cate Ray Hamil­ton Goba as the coun­try’s new Pros­e­cu­tor-Gen­eral. Adv Goba, who has vast ex­pe­ri­ence in prose­cu­tion af­ter serv­ing as PG for Namibia, re­placed Mr Jo­hannes To­mana, who was re­cently f

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Q & A/Perspective -

DN: There have been re­ports of dishar­mony and di­vi­sions within the NPA. How do you in­tend to unite the camps? RG: Well, they are not di­vi­sions per se. I un­der­stand two peo­ple in the se­nior man­age­ment here at head of­fice, prior to my com­ing, dis­agreed on a cer­tain mat­ter. I re­alised that the dis­pute was of a per­sonal na­ture and it was not a pro­fes­sional one. I have al­ready acted on that prob­lem. I, for my part, did take steps to me­di­ate be­tween the two in the in­ter­ests of the in­tegrity and rep­u­ta­tion of the of­fice. Af­ter the meet­ing, I thought the prob­lem was over, but un­for­tu­nately, it turned out that one of them still had is­sues. I later learnt that they had both en­gaged lawyers in­tend­ing to take the mat­ter to court. Con­sid­er­ing that they are adults,

and I tried my best to me­di­ate, I left the is­sue to the par­ties and their lawyers. How­ever, pro­fes­sion­ally they are re­lat­ing well. Some in­di­vid­u­als, who had taken sides in the dis­putes, have since been trans­ferred to other sta­tions. So there are no longer camps to talk about save for a per­sonal dis­pute pit­ting two adults. DN: The NPA sec­re­tar­iat com­prises mem­bers of the uni­formed agen­cies and there have been talks of the author­ity be­ing mil­i­tarised. How do you com­ment on the said mil­i­tari­sa­tion? RG: We never mil­i­tarised the of­fice as claimed. Yes, we have mil­i­tary pro­fes­sion­als on sec­ond­ment here at head of­fice run­ning the administration of the NPA. It was a stop-gap mea­sure un­der­taken to as­sist the NPA dur­ing its tran­si­tion from the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s Of­fice to the NPA in terms of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Our of­fice only had lawyers and it did not have pro­fes­sional ad­min­is­tra­tors. Gov­ern­ment had no funds to re­cruit a team of civil­ian ad­min­is­tra­tors to do the work. The mil­i­tary of­fered us hu­man re­sources per­son­nel, ac­counts staff, and oth­ers, who were be­ing paid from where they had come from. DN: Pros­e­cu­tors have been ar­rested and some tried over cor­rup­tion. As new PG, how are you go­ing to tackle graft? RG: It is im­por­tant to iden­tify any gaps in the sys­tem that can be cor­ruptly abused by pros­e­cu­tors. For ex­am­ple, the power and discretion to pros­e­cute can be abused, hence we may come up with mea­sures to con­trol such pow­ers or to mon­i­tor our of­fi­cers in that re­spect. We iden­tify gaps, tar­get them and then put mea­sures in place to pre­vent abuse of discretion. We may en­sure that any de­ci­sions made are counter-checked and signed by a dif­fer­ent pros­e­cu­tor. If cases are con­cluded at court, dock­ets should not just be taken back to the po­lice sta­tion there and then. The out­come must be re­viewed by a su­per­vi­sor and if need be, an ap­peal is filed. If an ac­quit­tal is found to be due to poor in­ves­ti­ga­tion or poor pre­sen­ta­tion of facts by the pros­e­cu­tor, then dis­ci­plinary ac­tion may be taken. An­other way of fight­ing the temp­ta­tion of cor­rup­tion is to im­prove the con­di­tions of ser­vice for the staff. I also sug­gest the move­ment of pros­e­cu­tors from the Harare Mag­is­trates’ Court and Mbare to our own build­ing where we can mon­i­tor and su­per­vise them. DN: Is the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity Act ad­e­quate to equip you to ex­e­cute your func­tions? RG: The Act gives us a frame­work to carry out our oper­a­tions, but Sec­tion 4 of the Act pro­vides for the po­si­tions of PG, Deputy PG (DPG) and Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (NDPP) and Di­rec­tor for Administration (DA). The PG is re­garded as the di­rec­tor of pros­e­cu­tions, hence there is du­pli­ca­tion of du­ties in the Act. We have since made rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the abol­ish­ment of the NDPP post and amend the law to pro­vide for at least two Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor-Gen­er­als. The new Con­sti­tu­tion only pro­vided for PG and the NDPP, but dur­ing the tran­si­tion, for­mer Deputy At­tor­ney-Gen­eral (Crim­i­nal Divi­sion) moved with the PG and oc­cu­pied the po­si­tion of NDPP and the one who was Di­rec­tor of Pros­e­cu­tions as­sumed the po­si­tion of Deputy Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions. When the Act came into ef­fect, it pro­vided for the po­si­tion of DPG and NDPP. The NDPP be­comes an ir­rel­e­vant post, hence we are ad­vo­cat­ing its abol­ish­ment and ap­point­ment of a se­cond DPG. The Act also pro­vides for the re­cruit­ment of strictly lawyers as pros­e­cu­tors, hence it poses a chal­lenge for diploma hold­ers to up­grade them­selves. DN: Does the law al­low you to work with de­vel­op­ment part­ners?

RG: Yes. Sec­tion 24 of the NPA Act pro­vides for the author­ity funds to come from any donor pro­vided they are ap­proved by Gov­ern­ment. We al­ready have part­ners like the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Jus­tice. The Euro­pean Union are pro­vid­ing us with tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise in craft­ing and im­ple­ment­ing our strate­gic plan. Some are as­sist­ing us in set­ting up and stock­ing our li­brary. We have an­other tech­ni­cal ex­pert from United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime to as­sist us in the area of as­sets for­fei­ture. He is based here. He is not only as­sist­ing us, but he also as­sists in­ves­ti­gat­ing arms like the Zim­babwe Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion, Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Author­ity, Zim­babwe Rev­enue Author­ity and the po­lice. DN: NPA has been served with evic­tion no­tices from Cor­ner House Build­ing over rent ar­rears. What is the lat­est on that is­sue? RG: We are still in ar­rears, but Trea­sury is mak­ing reg­u­lar pay­ments to the land­lord. I pro­pose the pur­chase of our own build­ing as a long term so­lu­tion to the prob­lem. Be­ing an in­de­pen­dent of­fice, we need to stand on our own feet.

DN: How do you fore­see your work­ing re­la­tions with your deputy, Mrs Florence Ziyambi, con­sid­er­ing you were com­pet­ing for the same post in the just-ended PG’s pub­lic in­ter­views? RG: She was the first per­son to call me the day my ap­point­ment was gazetted. She con­grat­u­lated me and I took it as a gra­cious thing on her part. We have also worked to­gether be­fore I be­came her boss. In the 1990s when I was Act­ing Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, she was a ju­nior pros­e­cu­tor work­ing un­der me. Over the years, while I was away, she rose through the ranks to become Deputy PG. I be­lieve that she and I, be­ing pro­fes­sion­als, we will work to­gether well. DN: Can you share your vi­sion

for the NPA with the read­ers? RG: I would want to see a sit­u­a­tion where the NPA will be en­vied by many across the globe. With the right cal­i­bre of cadre in the NPA, the sky is the limit in terms of how we carry out our func­tions. DN: Can you com­ment on your re­la­tion­ship with the po­lice and the Zim­babwe Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion. Are there no en­croach­ments in the way you carry out your re­spec­tive func­tions? RG: We have a co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ship. The NPA has an ex­clu­sive ju­ris­dic­tion to in­sti­tute and un­der­take crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions. We do not in­ves­ti­gate. We sim­ply re­ceive in­ves­ti­ga­tion dock­ets and re­ports from the in­ves­tiga­tive arms. If we find that there is no suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence, we de­cline prose­cu­tion. If there is ev­i­dence, we pros­e­cute the mat­ters. The ZACC has the man­date to specif­i­cally in­ves­ti­gate cor­rup­tion, raise aware­ness cam­paigns on the harm­ful ef­fects of cor­rup­tion, while the po­lice have a gen­eral man­date to in­ves­ti­gate crime. The ZRP and ZACC com­ple­ment each other in the area of com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion. Both of them must bring their cases to the NPA for de­ci­sion on whether to pros­e­cute or not. When the ZACC brings cases to us, we have the power to re­fer the mat­ter to the po­lice for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions. DN :Be­fore we end the in­ter­view, there is a per­sis­tent is­sue be­ing raised by those op­posed to your ap­point­ment that you have a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion. How do you re­spond to that? RG: To me that sounds like a song be­ing played on a wrong speed. It now sounds like a scratched seven-sin­gle play­ing on an old gramo­phone at the speed of 33 revs per minute. The mat­ter was re­solved in Namibia long back.

Adv Goba

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