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Zacc probes Mupfumira prison conditions

By Ruvimbo Muchenje | Zimbabwe Standard |

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) yesterday descended on Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to investigate allegations that incarcerated former Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira is getting preferential treatment.

Former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira looks colourful as she makes her way into the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. — (Picture by Lee Maidza)
Former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira looks colourful as she makes her way into the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. — (Picture by Lee Maidza)

Mupfumira’s lawyer, Charles Chinyama, confirmed that three Zacc commissioners were at Chikurubi to investigate the conditions under which the former top Zanu PF official was being held.

“I confirm the presence at Chikurubi Female Prison of two commissioners known to me from Zacc this afternoon,” he said.

“They indicated that their intention was to investigate whether my client was being given preferential treatment ahead of other female prisoners, but after talking to them, they drove off.”

He said Zacc commissioners Jessie Majome, Frank Muchengwa and Kuziva Murapa requested to visit the prison cells, but he was not sure if the request was granted.

“I can’t comment on whether or not their request to access female prison holding cells was granted, that is an issue which falls within the domain of the Prisons Act and I am not qualified to comment,” Chinyama added.

However, Majome said they were denied access and were told to write an advance letter requesting access to the institution.

“We could not access it and were advised to write a letter so that we can fully assess the circumstances under which she is living generally,” she said.

The visit follows an uproar on social media over pictures of a neatly dressed Mupfumira going to the Harare magistrates’ court with a prison officer holding her handbag, which Majome said they had an obligation to follow up.

“We are concerned about the reports from the media (of preferential treatment) and we have an obligation to investigate,” said Majome.

Mupfumira is languishing in remand prison after she was denied bail by both the magistrates’ Court and High Court after her arrest on allegations of swindling the National Social Security Authority of more than US$95 million.

However, her Zanu PF allies claimed the visit by Zacc showed that she was being targeted for persecution.