ED’s anti-graft unit loses powers

Prosecutor-General Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) has been stripped of prosecution powers in a move that leaves National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as the sole agency to handle corruption-related cases.

Mnangagwa appointed Sacu in May 2018 to bolster the fight against graft.

The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other institutions in the fight against corruption.

The unit was also expected to assist Zacc and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of dockets to prosecute corruption cases referred to the NPA by the investigative agencies.

However, recently-appointed Prosecutor-General Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo said all corruption cases would now be handled by the NPA.

Matanda-Moyo made the announcement in a statement while calling for improvement in the clearing of economic crimes in the country.

In her statement, Justice Matanda-Moyo said the Economic Crimes Unit in Harare had handled 72 cases and completed 42 with the rate standing at 58,3%.

“There is a need for improvement in the clearance rate of economic crimes. The anti-corruption unit handled 40 cases and completed 33. The clearance rate was 82,5%,” she said.

“Let me, while on the anti-corruption unit, also take this opportunity to thank Sacu that is the special unit in the President's Office, for the assistance rendered to the National Prosecuting Authority over the years.

“We have recently terminated their services and I expect that corruption cases will be rendered to the National Prosecuting Authority over the years. 

“We have recently terminated their services and I expect that corruption cases will be efficiently prosecuted by yourselves (NPA officers).

Announcing the establishment of Sacu, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba indicated that the unit was not meant to supersede or undermine Zacc but to reinforce and complement the commission’s operations.

He said the unit would ensure a well-co-ordinated and comprehensive approach where all the investigative arms and prosecution elements operate in a co-ordinated fashion.Charamba said the setting up of the unit was in line with Mnangagwa’s policy of zero tolerance to corruption.

In an interview with NewsDay, Attorney-General Virginia Mabhiza, who was the unit’s co-ordinator, said Sacu would remain as part of Mnangagwa’s effort to fight corruption.“The unit is in the Office of the President and Cabinet and its activities go way beyond criminal prosecution with its main mandate being to fight corruption,” she said.“Criminal prosecution was one of their duties and they can continue investigating corruption cases.

“It is also important to note that the unit also worked in consultation with the Prosecutor-General when cases go for prosecution.”

Matanda-Moyo also announced a raft of changes in the NPA management structure including operational processes to expedite case processing, reduce the backlog and ensure a more effective delivery of justice.

Deputy Prosecutors-General have been moved to oversee between 11 and 14 stations Nelson Mutsonziwa monitoring Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Mutare High Court and Asset Recovery.

The other provinces were divided between the three acting deputy prosecutors-general.

In a statement, NPA said the new head for inspectorate and training was drafting a new training curriculum enforcing stricter performance standards.

Matanda-Moyo, who previously headed Zacc, is the country’s first female prosecutor-general.She was Zacc chairperson from May 2019 and replaced Kumbirai Hodzi who held the position  until his resignation on medical grounds last year.

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