27 March 2013

Zimbabwe: More Arrests in Corruption Probe Backlash

The crackdown against the Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) continued this week with the arrest of yet another official, and the refusal by the police to release the organisation's CEO.

ZACC's Emmanuel Chimwanda was picked up by police on Tuesday and kept overnight at Harare Central Police Station. Police national spokesperson, Charity Charamba, confirmed the arrest, saying Chimwanda was picked up for questioning and was set to be released after signing a warned and cautioned statement.

"He was picked up by police in connection with impersonation. They will record a warned and cautioned statement from him and he will be released," Charamba said.

The anti-graft body's chief, Ngonidzashe Gumbo, meanwhile remains in police detention after the state appealed his release on bail. He was granted bail on Monday after his arrest last week, but now faces detention until April.

This onslaught against the group has come in the wake of attempts to launch corruption investigations into key parastatals, as well as the alleged abuse of community development funds. Among the parastatals that the ZACC has been trying to investigate are the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (linked to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu), and the National Empowerment Board (linked to Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere).

The principals in the inclusive government meanwhile resolved this week that the crackdown on the commission must be stopped.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the Principals meeting with the NewsDay newspaper and said there was agreement on the commission's operations.

"The principals agreed that the commission must be allowed to do its work. It's an independent commission and must not be interfered with so as to enable the execution of its constitutional mandate," Tamborinyoka said.

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