By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has once again been blocked from probing senior government officials, with President Robert Mugabe reportedly ordering a stop to Jonathan Moyo’s imminent arrest.
In 2013, the commission could not proceed with investigating ministers Saviour Kasukuwere, Nicholas Goche and then Mines minister, Obert Mpofu after they were ordered to stop, apparently by Mugabe’s office.
Moyo, the Higher and Tertiary Education minister, was almost arrested by the police working with ZACC for allegedly working with other public service employees in defrauding the Zimbabwe Development Fund (Zimdef), which falls under his ministry, of some $270,000.
The investigating teams from ZACC and the police waited for Moyo at the Zanu PF headquarters on Wednesday where he was attending a politburo meeting which Mugabe was chairing.
The minister, who must have known that he faced arrested, raised the issue during the meeting, accusing ZACC of victimising him on tribal and factional grounds.
Local media reports that quoted unnamed ZACC investigators indicate that Mugabe then sent Kembo Mohadi and Ignatius Chombo, the State Security and Home Affairs minister, respectively, to meet the arresting team.
When they returned, Mugabe is said to have ordered that Moyo be left alone even though, previously, he had agreed to the minister’s arrest provided there was evidence.
Moyo had earlier failed to report to ZACC as promised, forcing the commission to waylay him on Wednesday.
Documents leaked by ZACC officials show that Moyo allegedly used his personal assistant to draw about $50,000 from Zimdef to buy 149 bicycles that he distributed to rural Tsholotsho where he is Member of Parliament.
He is also accused of illegally obtaining a $24,000 loan which he has since repaid.
The documents allege that a businessman believed to be his friend helped him repay $16,000 of the loan while he chipped in with the remaining $8,000.
Moyo is said to have connived with his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, Zimdef chief executive officer, Fredrick Mandizvidza and Shephard Hozheri, the minister’s personal assistant in prejudicing Zimdef of about $270,000.
A whistleblower provided ZACC with the information on 25 July this year.
Moyo’s deputy, Gandawa, is reported to own companies from which Zimdef made several purchases.
Moyo is said to be enjoying the support of Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who has torched an outcry in the past for visiting a police station and ordering the release of Zimbabwe National Road Authority top executives who had been arrested for fraud.
The two are linked to a Zanu PF faction, Generation 40 (G40) which is locked in an intense succession war with another camp, Team Lacoste, fronted by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Moyo reportedly accused Mnangagwa of plotting his arrests but the arresting officers denied this when confronted by Mohadi and Chombo on Wednesday. Nehanda Radio