Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

ZACC blames legal system and NPA for ‘catch and release’ tag

By Staff Reporter

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Monday said it is concerned about the public’s growing perception that high profile suspects are only arrested as a window dressing measure to hoodwink the public that corruption is being eradicated.

Prisca Mupfumira
Zimbabwe’s then Environment and Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira arrives at the Harare Magistrates Courts on July 26, 2019, as she faces seven corruption charges linked to the disappearance of $94 million from the country’s pension fund when she was welfare minister. – Mupfumira was detained on July 25, 2019 by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and is the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be arrested for graft under the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

In an interview on the sidelines of a national anti-corruption development strategy workshop in Bulawayo, ZACC Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobani said the public was blaming ZACC with the ‘catch and release’ tag without taking into cognisance the current legal systems and National Prosecution Authority (NPA) role in the ‘release’ of high profile suspects.

“It’s true that the public has raised this concern about catch and release and they have attributed it to ZACC. Unfortunately, it’s not ZACC’s responsibility alone.

“ZACC is mandated to carry out investigations, so ZACC only investigates cases of corruption and once the cases have been completed ZACC then refers the cases to the National Prosecuting Authority.

“The NPA takes over and presents the case before a magistrate and someone apparently looks like they are being released, it’s because there are so many laws that are there. One, you are innocent until proven guilty and secondly, there are rights that everyone has according to the Constitution and human rights globally, so we have to respect those rights,” she said.

Several corrupt cases of high profile political and non-political figures over the past few years have collapsed due to insufficient evidence presented by the NPA to courts.

Corruption cases of high profile figures that collapsed include Ignatius Chombo who was charged on more than three counts of corruption, including attempting to fleece the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2004, when he was local government minister.

In 2018 former minister of Energy, Samuel Undenge was also charged for prejudicing ZPC of US 12, 000. While recently former Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira is facing charges of abusing US$95 million emanating from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) forensic audit report.

Commissioner Mhlobani reiterated that ZACC was engaging with NPA, police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services among other stakeholders in a two-day anti-corruption development strategic workshop to come up with strategies to fight corruption.

Mhlobani advocated that it was high time a Whistle-blowers Act was enacted to improve the confidence in reporting graft cases. Nehanda Radio