NPA blames bungling ZACC for ‘poor’ Rushwaya, Mupfumira dockets
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has blamed the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for passing poorly investigated dockets that lead to the fall of big corruption cases.
Speaking at a recent launch of the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report, which ranked Zimbabwe number 157 out of 180 surveyed countries, a position that makes the southern African country one of the most corrupt territories in the world, NPA Chief Public Prosecutor Special Projects Tawanda Zvekare justified the fall of several cases of corruption which many believed is catch and release linked to ruling Zanu-PF bigwigs.
According to ZimLive, the top NPA official said the judiciary did not have enough evidence to secure a conviction against Zimbabwe artisanal miners boss Henrietta Rushwaya, who was busted in October 2020 trying to smuggle 6,9kg of gold through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Zvekare further stated that the prosecution failed to secure a conviction against former Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who was arrested in July 2019 charged with corruption involving US$95 million from the state pension fund due to lack of evidence again.
“For the serious cases which you were talking about, that’s Henrietta Rushwaya case, the Prisca Mupfumira case and like cases, I would want to say that the threshold for proving a criminal case is proof beyond reasonable doubt, which is a high threshold.
“It may not be discharged easily,” he said.
Zvekare said NPA relied on ZACC investigators and when the evidence is poor, the case falls.
“As NPA, we depend on the investigators, that is the police, that is ZACC,” he said.
“If they give us a good docket, with enough evidence, we will not fail you. We will do our bit.
“But at times we are not given good cases to prosecute, so to speak by the investigators and we would be compromised in our discharge of our mandate as prosecutors.
“This is why some cases, which may be obvious to you, that this is an obvious conviction, may not be necessarily so because of various factors.
“I can give an example of a soccer match, we are strikers and if the midfielders who are the investigators give us poor passes, we cannot score.
“But we are trying our level best to prosecute every criminal case without fear, favour or prejudice. This is our mandate but there may be other factors which may militate against us.”
Last year, ZACC chairperson Loyce Matanda-Moyo however heaped blame on the NPA for failing to properly prosecute corruption cases resulting in a very low conviction rate.
“The commission has surpassed the annual target of 180 dockets submitted to the NPA for prosecution. The commission remains concerned with the speed at which the cases are processed through the criminal justice system,” Matanda-Moyo said in a statement.
“We have been engaging the NPA and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to implement necessary reforms in order to enhance public confidence in the fight against corruption.”
She added: “The four convictions so far this year arising from our dockets fall far below our expectations given the number of high profile arrests we made during the year.
“We continue to engage the relevant authorities to be granted prosecution powers in order to complement the work of the NPA, without infringing on its constitutional mandate.”