By Brian Chitemba
Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko faces imminent arrest after resisting officers from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) who wanted to pick him from his Bulawayo home over allegations of criminal abuse of public office.
The ex-Vice President thwarted the arrest on Friday at his Douglasdale house after dramatically refusing to cooperate with Zacc arresting officers whilst his wife Laurinda and daughter Siduduzo ordered the officials out.
A video of the incident has since gone viral.
However, Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the long arm of the law will catch up with Mr Mphoko as no one is above the law.
His arrest is historic as he becomes the first such high ranking ex-public official to be nabbed over abuse of office.
Allegations against Mr Mphoko are that in 2016, while he was still Vice President, he stormed Avondale Police Station to release former Zimbabwe National Road Administration acting chief executive officer Moses Juma.
Mr Mphoko, during that time, threatened to beat junior police officers at the station if they failed to comply to his demands. Juma was later re-arrested and sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of abuse of office.
In an interview, Justice Matanda-Moyo said: “Yesterday (Friday), our officers visited the former VP Phelekezela Mphoko at his residence. The officers intended to question him with a view to record a warned and cautioned statement. The matter relates to abuse of office whilst he was VP.
“It is sad that the former VP refused to collaborate with the enforcement officers. Unfortunately, he and those around him believe that they are above the law….no one is above the law.
“We will ensure that the long arm of the law visits him in a manner that he understands and that he answers for his actions ASAP (as soon as possible).”
Sources said Zacc officers were yesterday planning to arrest Mr Mphoko.
According to the video on the failed arrest, the Mphoko family chased away two Zacc detectives out of their house while accusing them of trespassing and being “very corrupt people”.
The family demanded a warrant of arrest and threatened to call the police on the Zacc officers.
“You come here on false pretences, you are the one who pretended. We will put you out on Facebook and see,” says Siduduzo in the video.
Mr Mphoko shouted at the Zacc officers, “Out of my house please. Outside.”
The arresting officer then threatened to call for reinforcements.
Siduduzo is then heard saying the Zacc officers’ departure was an opportune time for the family to regroup.
Zacc has found some teeth after being given arresting powers through Statutory Instrument 143 of 2019.
The Justice Matanda-Moyo led body has already shown some sting by arresting former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira on allegations of corruption involving US$95 million misappropriated at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).
She is currently languishing in remand prison after being denied bail as she was said to be a flight risk by the High Court.
Zacc also arrested former State residences director Douglas Tapfuma for abuse of office after importing vehicles without paying duty.
The anti-corruption commission is investigating over 200 graft cases, with more arrests expected soon. The Sunday Mail