Zimbabwe: Ministers Off the Hook

CORRUPT ministers fingered in high level graft by President Robert Mugabe at the just-ended ZANU-PF people's conference have been let off the hook with no action likely to be taken against them until Parliament is dissolved before next year's polls.

The ZANU-PF leader divulged at the party's indaba held in Gweru that former South African president Thabo Mbeki had told him that some local ministers had demanded kickbacks from South Africans who were seeking to invest in the country, claiming President Mugabe also wanted a share of the spoils.

Although President Mugabe did not state when the report was made to him by Mbeki, no minister has been arrested or investigated despite the seriousness of the claims, with the former generalising that those who are corrupt would be fired.

This week, Mbeki's spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga declined to reveal the names of those said to have been exposed by the former South African leader.

"I think you should approach the spokesperson for President Mugabe.

"The matter did not reach the public domain via us. It reached through President Mugabe," said Ratshitanga.

Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba could not be immediately reached for comment.

However, sources in ZANU-PF said two of the party's ministers who are among the most active Cabinet ministers were at the centre of the scam.

They also claimed that President Mugabe was not likely to crack the whip on the two ministers as they were part of those who submitted reports on their respective departments at the conference, with nothing being mentioned about their actions.

Besides lifting the lid on Mbeki's claims, President Mugabe in a foreword to the Central Committee report presented at the party's conference also revealed that the corruption cancer has extended to some ministers deployed by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations, but again no action has been taken.

"The leadership of the opposition MDC formations have spent their time in office lining up their pockets and seeking the trappings of luxury but with no achievements to show on the policy front. None whatsoever! In the process, the leadership of the opposition MDC formations have abandoned their own supporters for self aggrandisement," said President Mugabe.

Critics say a number of known looters occupy positions in government, but no action has been taken against them, with the Anti-Corruption Commission proving to be a toothless bulldog bent only on draining the fiscus with no tangible results on the ground. There are unconfirmed allegations that some of its commissioners have since joined the gravy train.

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