THE setting-up of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) might take time as there is need to craft an Act of Parliament to constitute it, Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana has said.
REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA
In an interview yesterday, Tomana said preparatory work for draft legislation to set up the structure of the NPA was underway. He said when Parliament starts sitting that would be one of the many pieces of legislation that should be crafted to align with the new Constitution.
“There will be a lot of work to be done to come up with the new structure of the NPA. According to Section 19 (2) Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, it means the Attorney-General (AG) is now Prosecutor-General,” said Tomana.
“So I will be doing the duties of AG and Prosecutor-General until we have a new AG. There will be an Act to properly constitute the NPA, but setting it up might take a bit of time.”
Legal experts last week said Parliament should speedily craft legislation to set out the structure of the NPA in order to operationalise it. Under the new Constitution the functions of the NPA and the AG have been separated.
According to legal experts Veritas, the effective date for this constitutional provision was August 22 and failure to craft the law that sets out the structure of the NPA would affect its operations.
“In the absence of legislation setting out its structure and organisation, the NPA’s existence remains largely theoretical,” said Veritas.
“Presumably all public prosecutors and members of the criminal division of the Attorney-General’s Office are continuing to carry out their functions as before, but their authority to do so is doubtful in the absence of a law which states that they are employed by the NPA.”
Former Copac co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) on Sunday said the setting-out of the NPA structure through a law was necessary as the Constitution did not give all the necessary details.
“The Constitution does not give all details of what must be done. It only lays the basic principles and yes, there is need to craft a piece of legislation to set out that structure,” said Mwonzora.
“The current AG (Tomana) under the transitional provisions becomes Prosecutor-General heading the NPA for six years and it means there will be a new AG and that post is vacant.”
However, former Copac co-chairman Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu PF) said it was not necessary to set up the NPA in terms of another law as the Constitution had adequately set it up.
“There is no need for the NPA to be established in terms of another law as the Constitution clearly stipulates its functions, staff, and duties of staff. Maybe what needs to be in the Act is a board to manage the staff just like that the current AG’s Office has a board.
“There is also need for the President to appoint an AG to become the legal adviser of government. He will be in charge of all civil cases, draft all legislation and provide advice to Parliament, as well as advising the President on the constitutionality of laws,” Mangwana said.