Top govt official in trouble over ‘questionable’ wealth


THE Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has suspended senior official Marcos Nyaruwanga to pave way for investigations to ascertain his source of wealth as a public official, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) obtained an unexplained wealth order at the High Court to check how Nyaruwanga acquired his assets.

Nyaruwanga is a senior official in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development reportedly working under the capital expenditure department responsible for the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of government programmes.

According to the order, Nyaruwanga was asked to give a sworn statement to the head of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s Asset Forfeiture Recovery Unit, explaining how he acquired a Hatfield property and several vehicles.

In the order, Nyaruwanga was also required to give details of the costs incurred in obtaining the assets and produce supporting documents showing proof of source of income.

High-level sources close to the developments said Nyaruwanga is now on suspension to pave the way for investigations.

“Nyaruwanga is under suspension pending investigations being carried out by Zacc. The anti-graft body has also been doing an independent evaluation of Nyaruwanga’s property together with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works,” the sources said.

Approached for comment, Nyaruwanga confirmed the investigations but could not discuss the matter.

Zacc spokesperson John Makamure also confirmed the probe.

“I can confirm that we obtained an explained wealth order and investigations are ongoing. We cannot divulge further,” Makamure said.

Zacc is already investigating 22 cases of unexplained wealth involving externalisation of more than US$22 million.

The anti-graft body last year recovered more than US$7 million worth of assets in unexplained wealth as it continued to hunt down proceeds of corruption for eventual seizure and prosecution before the courts.

Zacc is also pushing for a legal framework that allows it to prosecute its own cases to ensure the effective discharge of its mandate of fighting corruption.

The anti-graft body has on several occasions maintained that there are no implications on the current asset forfeiture initiative in the event that the corruption accused is eventually cleared and acquitted by the courts.

This follows concerns that Zacc was likely going to face various lawsuits in the event the corruption accused were acquitted while their assets (both movable and immovable) were forfeited by the state.

There were earlier indications that Zacc was sweating over continued loss of value on seized movable assets as delays in the finalisation of criminal court proceedings stalled disposal.

Zacc has a mandate to seize assets under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act [Chapter 9:22], the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] and the Money laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act [Chapter 9:24].

Prior to the recent appointment of the acting Director General of the Asset Management Unit (AMU), the commission was facing challenges in preserving the value of assets recovered.

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