Mr. Kumbirai Hodzi, Zimbabwe’s new substantive Prosecutor-General urged to speed up the prosecution of High Profile Corruption Cases

The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) welcomes the appointment of a substantive Prosecutor General for Zimbabwe but urges him to expedite the prosecution of high profile corruption cases in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). On the 23rd of January 2019, President Mnangagwa swore-in Mr. Kumbirai Hodzi as the country’s substantive Prosecutor-General who has been on acting capacity since 24 July 2018. However, ACT-SA has noted with concern that there is a deliberate failure and/or neglect to prosecute high profile corruption cases which gives a wrong impression that there are some individuals who are above the law.

Mr. David Jamali, the Chairperson of ACT-SA indicated that he was not happy with the way the Prosecutor General’s office handles high profile corruption cases “In Zimbabwe high profile individuals were arrested but there is very little progress on the prosecution of thereof. Some of the suspects arrested include Ignatius Chombo, Jason Machaya, Walter Mzembi, Francis Gudyanga, Walter Chidhakwa, Savour Kasukuwere, David Parirenyatwa, and Supa Mandiwanzira among others. However, the prosecution is taking too long to conclude the cases. In some cases, we doubt if some of the culprits are ever going to be prosecuted at all. Why are these individuals appear to be favoured regardless of millions of dollars lost and abundance of evidence needed to facilitate the prosecution thereof.” he says

Furthermore, Mr. Jamali recommended the setting up of special anti-corruption courts and training investigators and judicial officers in handling corruption cases. “Its difficult to understand why these cases are not being finalised. It’s either there is interference or that the investigators and judicial officers have limited capacity to handle corruption cases. It is also true that some investigators and judicial officers fear for their lives. There is thus urgent need to speed up, set up specialised anti-corruption courts, train and protect investigators/ judicial officers from reprisals. This also explains why ACT-SA has for long been calling for the establishment of a regional anti-corruption court for Southern Africa or the revival of the SADC Tribunal with an additional mandate of adjudicating on corruption cases that are risky to prosecute at the national level.” he says

Similar to what ACT-SA is doing in other SADC Member States, it will continue to monitor and report on progress vis-à-vis the finalization of these high profile corruption cases.

Background Information

Zimbabwean authorities are well-known for protecting corrupt high profile individuals. In the 1980s, Zimbabweans witnessed the Paweni scandal (1983), The GMB scandal (1985), Kumbirai Kangai NOCZIM scandal in which 142 million had been embezzled (1986), Zisco Steel blast Furnace Scandal (1987), Air Zimbabwe Fokker Plane Scandal $100 million (1987), National Railways Housing Scandal (1986), Willowgate Scandal (1988), and the ZRP Santana Scandal (1989) to name but a few. Apart from these scandals being talked about, there were no arrests and convictions.

As if that was not enough, in the 1990s, several scandals shocked the nation. These included the War Victims Compensation scandal (1994), GMB grain scandal (1995), VIP Housing Scandal (1996), Boka Banking Scandal (1998), ZESA YTL Soltran Scandal (1998), Telecel Scandal (1998), Harare City Council Refuse Tender Scandal (1998), Housing Loan Scandal (1999), Noczim Scandal (1999), GMB Scandal (1999), Ministry of Water and Rural Development Chinese tender scandal (1999), VIP Land Grab Scandal (1999), and the Harare Airport Scandal (2001) among others.

After the swearing-in of President Mnangagwa, a number of high profile individuals were arrested such as Ignatius Chombo, Jason Machaya, Walter Mzembi, Francis Gudyanga, Walter Chidhakwa, Savour Kasukuwere, David Parirenyatwa, and Supa Mandiwanzira among others. However, there has been little progress on the reported cases.

Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)