Lawyers sabotaging anti-corruption fight: ZACC spokesman claims
By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) has accused lawyers of persons accused of corruption of submitting ‘frivolous’ applications before the courts ‘just to delay trials’.
ZACC spokesperson John Makamure said the courts were not prioritising corruption cases resulting in delays of their prosecution and finalisation. He added that lawyers of corruption accused persons were also making different applications to delay trial.
“Lawyers are submitting frivolous applications before the court just to delay trial in court. ZACC has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The MoU ensures that the two institutions (ZACC and NPA) work in liaison on cases that would have been submitted by ZACC to facilitate their speedy processing in criminal justice,” Makamure said in an interview with NewsDay.
Makamure said a high-level 31-member ZACC steering committee held its last quarter meeting last month and one of the contentious issues was about prosecution of corruption cases.
He said the committee resolved that the court rules should be reviewed to prioritise prosecution of corruption cases and that there should be a timeframe to lead these processes.
“We want to introduce specific timeframes on prosecution and finalisation of corruption, to say, trial and finalisation of a corruption case should not go beyond a certain period. As we speak, the request is receiving due attention and consideration by the authorities,” Makamure added.
ZACC has always been lobbying the executive to have arresting and trial powers in order to expedite corruption fights.
Courts in Zimbabwe are accused of suffering from a ‘catch and release’ syndrome where politically affiliated persons are arrested and released on bail and go for years without trial.
Such cases include but are not limited to former Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira who was arrested in 2019 on allegations of swindling NSSA out of US$90 000. Almost three years now, she is still out on bail without being tried.
Former Health minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested last year on allegations of awarding a US$60 million tender to a shadowy company Drax International, to supply Covid-19 materials. A year later, he is out of custody on bail and yet to face trial. Nehanda Radio