President swears in anti-corruption commissioners . . . 200 cases for Zacc

The Chronicle

Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday swore in seven commissioners from the eight appointed members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) as Government intensifies its anti-graft drive.

The swearing in of the commissioners at State House followed public interviews that were conducted by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda last month.

Following the interviews of about 38 candidates, Parliament submitted the constitutionally prescribed 12 people from which the President was obliged to appoint eight to sit as members of Zacc.

The seven commissioners that were appointed are Gabriel Chaibva, Jessie Fungai Majome, John Makamure, Thandiwe Thando Mlobane, Kuziva Phineas Murapa, Frank Muchengwa and Retired Major Michael Dennis Santu.

Another commissioner, Mabel Ndakaripa Hungwe was not sworn in as she could not attend the function.

The swearing-in came as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) revealed that it is investigating more than 200 cases of corruption related crimes emanating from a varied spectrum of the economy and arrests will be effected soon.

Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo yesterday said her Commission was out on a mission to aggressively fight corruption and was different from other previous bodies given that it was now headed by a judicial officer.

Justice Matanda-Moyo, who is also a High Court judge, said this in an interview at State House where seven Commissioners of Zacc were being sworn in by President Mnangagwa.

“I do not have a person whom we can say he or she is an actual accused person. After we are through with our investigations that is when I will say this one I am taking to court and that one I am not taking to court. So for now we are still doing the investigation(s). We have got the Auditor General’s report, NSSA audit report, Hwange issues, we have got Command Agriculture, we have got so many cases that we are handling at the moment. We have over 200 cases we are handling,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.

She said she was impressed by the calibre of the commissioners that had been sworn in yesterday saying they were from varied background thereby enriching the commission.

“We are quite happy with the curricula vitae of the commissioners, we have got auditors, accountants, police, lawyers, so we have got a very good team and I am confident that Zacc is going to perform with the type of commissioners that I have got,” she said.

Asked how different was her commission from others that came before the present one, Justice Matanda-Moyo said her team was different from previous ones in that it was being headed by a judge of the High Court. 

“I am very different. I am a judge and judges are honest people in society and once we take up particular missions we take it to its logical conclusion, so we are a very serious commission,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.

President Mnangagwa appointed eight Commissioners from a list of 12 that were submitted to him by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda which conducted a public interview last month.

 At least 38 candidates were interviewed last month at Parliament Building in a process that was open to members of the public.

The decision to constitute a new Zacc body followed the resignation of the previous Zacc chairperson and commissioners in January this year.

Parliament received 152 nominations by the closing date of February 28, 2019 after flighting an advertisement of those interested to serve as commissioners.

In terms of Sections 237 and 254 of the Constitution, Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is mandated to nominate candidates for possible appointment by the President, to serve as commissioners on the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission as provided for in Chapter 13 of the Constitution.

After receipt of applications, the CSRO then carried out an exhaustive analysis of the nominated candidates to establish their suitability for consideration to serve on the commission, and shortlisted 38 candidates.

In an interview yesterday, Commissioner Majome said she was ready to play her part in fighting corruption.

“My main mandate as Commissioner is to implement the clear provision of the Constitution regarding the functions of Zacc which is one of the two institutions which are in Chapter 13 of the Constitution which is devoted to combating crime. Its role is to act as a means to ensure that Zimbabwe decisively deals with the menace of corruption that is from policy and enforcement level. 

“Zacc is given the mandate to take what I term as helicopter view around corruption in terms of its causes, effects and detection as well as superintending and holding people to account as required by the criminal law,” said Comm Majome.

Comm Makamure said there was need for Zacc to work with other stakeholders to fight the vice.

“We believe that this is a very important institution in Zimbabwe created by the Constitution to fight corruption. The value I will bring is quite immense in terms of my experience working with Parliament of Zimbabwe and other Parliaments in the region. Given that Parliament is a key stakeholder in the fight against corruption, so we would want to promote more engagement between the commission and these key institutions like Parliament and civil society because the fight against corruption is stakeholder driven,” said Comm Makamure.

Comm Chaibva said his major asset to the anti-graft body was his personal integrity.

“Technically, academically, morally, and intellectually I am highly qualified. There is not a single day have I been accused by anybody of anything. I have no skeletons in the cupboard; I am a person of indisputable integrity. I am my own man. I am a jack of all trades, whatever assignment that I might be given by the commission I will be able to carry it out,” said Comm Chaibva.

Comm Murapa said their major asset was their independence.

“We are bringing our independence to start with, that we operate independently and this is key in fighting corruption because if you do not operate independently you will not fight it. 

“The President emphasised that point that we are independent and that we should do our work as we feel we should do,” said Comm Murapa.

Comm Muchengwa said his investigative skills acquired as a former senior police officer will be handy to the Commission.

“As a former police officer, I have had the background of investigating cases, encountering challenges, I was head of commercial crime unit at Harare Central Police this is where I made headlines in unearthing complex cases and it is not surprising that I have been appointed commissioner, investigation is my priority,” he said.

The event was attended by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo. 

Last month, the President swore in Justice Matanda-Moyo as chairperson of Zacc and she has hit the ground running.