By Daniel Nemukuyu
FORMER Director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma has been arrested for criminal abuse of office after allegedly importing a fleet of vehicles without paying duty, as the anti-graft drive gathers momentum.
He allegedly imported his personal vehicles and misrepresented that he was doing it on behalf of the State, as a way evading paying tax.
Tapfuma was last year reassigned as Principal Director Monitoring and Evaluation in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Tapfuma becomes the second high profile Government figure to be arrested by the newly-constituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) after Minister of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira was arrested on Thursday last week.
ZACC commissioner in charge of investigations, Mr Frank Muchengwa confirmed the arrest saying Tapfuma will appear in court today.
“I can confirm that Douglas Tapfuma has been arrested and he is spending a night at Mabelreign Police Station.
“He is accused of unlawfully importing a number of vehicles using the name of the State.
“He made people to believe that he was importing the vehicles on behalf of the State, when the cars were his. He then brought in the vehicles without paying duty,” said Commissioner Muchengwa.
A report by a private daily newspaper last year indicated that Tapfuma was abusing President Mnangagwa’s name and using letters from the President’s Office to facilitate the importation of vehicles for friends and relatives duty-free.
The same letters were also allegedly being used to evade paying Zimbabwe National Road Administration toll gate fees.
Additionally, Tapfuma was fingered in some alleged corrupt deals, including the “disappearance” of $6,4 million at Hwange Colliery.
ZACC, which recently got arresting powers, is walking the talk on the arrest of bigwigs, with Minister Mupfumira being the first big catch.
President Mnangagwa on July 15 overhauled ZACC appointing Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as chairperson.
Eight other commissioners, who succeeded in the public interviews held recently, were sworn in to work with Justice Matanda-Moyo.
The new Commission, unlike the previous one, now has powers to arrest.
Justice Matanda-Moyo recently vowed to fight corruption indicating that a number of bigwigs were already under investigation.
She said ZACC was investigating over 200 cases of corruption-related crimes emanating from a varied spectrum of the economy adding that arrests would be effected.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said her commission was out on a mission to aggressively fight corruption and was different from previous bodies given that it was now headed by a judicial officer.
In her maiden media address, Justice Matanda-Moyo said ZACC had received the latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report and investigations had already commenced in respect of all ministries, parastatals and State entities implicated in corruption and misappropriation of funds.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the AG’s report creates the basis for investigations into corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and or any other improper conduct committed in the public sector.
She said a number of High profile cases were already being investigated.
ZACC’s first catch, Minister Mupfumira, is in remand prison for 21 days to allow the investigators to do their work without her interference. The Chronicle