BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) yesterday said there was lack of genuine interest, commitment and political will in Zimbabwe to expeditiously prosecute corruption cases involving high-profile individuals.
In a statement, ACT-SA said it was disheartening that cases of corruption involving high-profile individuals, particularly those who were politically-connected, were taking long to be prosecuted under the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Despite calls by Mnangagwa during his inaugural speech in 2018 where he emphasised that he would prioritise the fight against corruption, Zimbabwe has remained one of the most corrupt countries globally and in Africa.
Zimbabwe scored 24 points out of 100 on the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index complied by Transparency International.
ACT-SA cited several examples of the lackadaisical approach towards fighting corruption in Zimbabwe, including cases that involved legislators.
“Similarly, (Gokwe Sesame MP) Gorden Chanda and a local authority were also arrested on or about 2019/20 after they allegedly diverted food aid, but their cases appeared to have been forgotten,” ACT-SA said.
“In 2020, Melania Mandeya and Jokonia Nyoni were arrested in Gokwe, but the case appears to have been forgotten.”
“The Gokwe Magistrates Court has also neglected trying Councillor Chigaba, who was accused of printing fake receipt books and collecting money from the people in Gokwe. More than three years have long since passed without Chigaba being tried regardless of the presence of a critical mass of witnesses,” the ACT-SA statement said.
The regional anti-graft body said the Gokwe case study was a microcosm of the status quo countrywide.
“The above cases speak volumes about the lack of preparedness or genuine interest by the Gokwe Magistrates Court, officials under the National Prosecuting Authority in Gokwe, as well as the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“These institutions appear to be letting down the administration of Mnangagwa’s efforts to fight corruption.”
ACT-SA said the cited Gokwe examples clearly revealed the inertia in prosecuting cases where evidence is available, but no trial takes place with evidence most likely to be tampered with or lost.
“The same will happen to the witnesses who might relocate or die, thereby resulting in the miscarriage of the trials leading to the acquittal of the accused persons over time,” the anti-corruption watchdog said.
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