THE Anti-Corrruption Commission and the police have swung into action after Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday lifted the lid on the $6 million bribery scam involving ex-Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTERS
Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Denford Chirindo confirmed in an interview last night that the commission had started investigating the matter, but refused to shed more light.
“I must, however, point out that all law-enforcement agents are taking that (corruption) seriously and we want to make sure we achieve what the President wants us to — fight and eradicate corruption. That is what we are geared to do. We don’t disclose what we are doing, but we investigate and refer matters for prosecution. Definitely, we want to make sure that we eradicate corruption.”
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said police investigations have commenced, but would be expedited when complainants from Ghana come. Sources at the Attorney-General’s office said they would only act on the diamond case after the police are through with their investigations.
Mugabe on Tuesday lashed out at Masimirembwa, accusing him of taking a $6 million bribe from Ghanaian investor William Ato Essien — the founder of Gye Nyame Resources (GNR).
Mugabe declared that such corrupt activities would not go unpunished under his watch.
Yesterday, analysts and political parties said the diamond case could be a tip of the iceberg which would see Mugabe saddled with the unenviable task of dealing with corrupt top Zanu PF members.
While some doubted Mugabe’s sincerity over the issue of corruption, others believe that the 89-year- old leader is genuine, but faces a mammoth task in eradicating the scourge.
Political analyst Enerst Mudzengi said: “I think he is serious and appears genuine. Resources from that sector (mining) have not benefited the nation at large to the chagrin of the President. It’s difficult to tell who else would be targeted, but he is likely to come hard on them (senior Zanu PF officials) to correct his legacy and in this quest, heads are likely to roll,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora called on Mugabe to walk the talk.
“If President Mugabe and Zanu PF are serious about curbing corruption, they should not be selective in their endeavour. It is a good starting point. If indeed he (Masimirembwa) did what he is alleged to have done, he must be brought to book and so must others who are higher than him,” Mwonzora said.
However, MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga expressed skepticism over Zanu PF’s sincerity.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said singling out the ex-ZMDC boss could be Mugabe’s strategy to divert attention from economic and social challenges which she felt Zanu PF was not able to solve.
“Zanu PF is in a difficult position as it has to deliver economically and socially. The whole corruption crusade could be one area President Mugabe would want to lean on. I think we are seeing the beginning of what is to come. He needs something to walk with while trying to sort out the economy,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa also said he would be briefed on the matter today or tomorrow.
Ex-Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, whose ministry supervised the deal between Ghanaian investors and ZMDC in a joint venture to mine diamonds in Marange, remained tight-lipped on the issue, saying: “I have no comment. I don’t want to talk about things in another ministry. Talk to the minister responsible.”