Zimbabwe anti-corruption watchdog chief gets death threats

HARARE – Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo and her team of commissioners have acquired firearms for personal security amid reports that they have been receiving death threats over high-profile graft cases they are investigating.

According to State media, last Friday, Justice Matanda-Moyo and her team underwent firearms training at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Shooting Range at Morris Depot in Harare before being issued with                                                                             arms.

The ZACC chair said she had personally received incessant phone calls from members of corruption cartels involving cases of high-profile political figures under investigation and a firearm becomes a necessary self-defence weapon.

“I have received a number of calls from people instructing me to drop certain cases involving political figures and other prominent people.

“I still receive the calls with others threatening my life. Others were trying to influence me on how ZACC should operate, particularly telling me who should and should not be investigated,” she said.

The callers, Justice Matanda-Moyo said, complained about the investigation of certain individuals.

Despite the threats, Justice Matanda-Moyo said she would soldier on and fight corruption to the end.

“As ZACC, we investigate all cases without fear or favour. The fight against corruption is a sacrifice and there is no going back,” she said.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Zimbabweans were peace-loving people, but a firearm was a necessary defence tool against violent characters.

“If someone decides to be violent, he or she must be met with self-defence that is equivalent. Firearms become necessary for ZACC commissioners,” she said.  Justice Matanda-Moyo said all the other commissioners were now armed after taking up the firearms training last Friday.

“Corruption is a complex issue and the moment you try to fight cartels, they will be having their own people on the ground to harm you.

“The other commissioners have also acquired firearms for security,” she said.

This comes at a time when ZACC had fired warning shots and arrested a number of high-profile figures since the appointment of a team of new commissioners.

ZACC said it was investigating more than 200 cases of corruption related crimes emanating from a varied spectrum of the economy and arrests will be effected soon.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said her Commission was out on a mission to aggressively fight corruption and was different from other previous bodies given that it was now headed by a judicial officer.

Speaking after his swearing in at State house in Harare recently, Justice Matanda-Moyo vowed to thoroughly investigate all cases without fear or favour.

She indicated that most investigations would emanate from the 2018 Auditor General’s report.

Since July, a number of prominent figures have been arrested and taken to court for corruption.

Former Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira was arrested for criminal abuse of office charges involving US$95 million.

She is out on bail pending trial.

ZACC has also arrested a number of other political figures and senior Government officials for corruption and they are appearing in court.

Recently, Zacc arrested three Government officials for abusing the Presidential Scholarship Programme.

The three have since appeared before a Harare magistrate and are on remand pending their trial.

They are Deputy Director Scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet Oliver Mucherwa and two workers in the same office — Godknows Mupembe and Silent Mubariki.

Other high ranking officials Zacc have pounced on include Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko who was charged for abuse of public office after he directed that accused persons be released.

Ex-director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma was also arrested for criminal abuse of office after he allegedly imported a fleet of vehicles without paying duty.

He reportedly imported personal vehicles under the pretext that he was doing so for the State to evade paying excise duty.

He is yet to be tried.

Former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board chairman Albert Mugabe is also in court on allegations of authorising and tendering false letters of undertaking to set off a mortgage loan facility to CBZ bank without the board’s approval.

He is being charged with criminal abuse of office.