Zimbabwe: 'Mnangagwa's Special Anti-Corruption Unit Illegal'

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
2 November 2020

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) says the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) is an illegal entity which unnecessarily duplicates roles of the prosecuting authority.

President Emerson Mnangagwa established the SACU in the Office of the President and Cabinet to improve efficiency in the fight against graft and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption.

"His Excellency the President has established a Special Anti-Corruption Unit which shall be housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

"The overall objectives of the unit shall be -- to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the national mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption in accordance with the anti-corruption strategy," said Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda at the its launch in 2018.

However the TIZ executive director Muchaneta Mundopa, questioned the relevance of the unit, which she said was merely duplicating roles of the NPA without requisite prosecution powers.

"That is an illegally entity. It's illegal, it's not effective and we are yet to see why it was set up in the first place. The Constitution states that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has the mandate prosecute all cases on behalf of the state.

"So we have this structure that is created by the President to fight corruption, to prosecute corruption in the pretext that there is so much corruption in the NPA," said Mundopa.

Mundopa challenged government over effectiveness of this crack unit in stemming corruption, as endemic and systemic grafts keeps spreading across the nation.

She said if the NPA body is compromised there should be investment to enhance its capacity or rid it of corrupt officials.

"If there is so much corruption in the NPA, why not capacitate and clean up the NPA instead of creating a duplicate illegal structure to fight corruption.

"Not only that, how effective has the SACU been? We still have corruption cases that are not prosecuted. An officer from that unit does not go to court but then they pass on the docket to the NPA so what relevance is that unit?" questioned Mundopa.

In Mutare recent there have been spates of arrests by the special unit, targeting mainly officers from the Central Investigative Department (CID) for various corruption linked cases. In a recent case which is has been heard by Mutare Magistrate Court, the crack unit nabbed a trio officers over a bribery case involving second hand clothes.

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

It is also expected to work with other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of corruption dockets, subject to the issuance of Authority to Prosecute by the Prosecutor General, to prosecute corruption cases referred to the NPA by investigative agencies.

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