The Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission (Zacc) has concluded investigations into allegations of corruption against three Cabinet Ministers and cleared them of any wrongdoing as the informants in all the cases failed to present credible evidence to sustain prosecution.
It also emerged in one of the high-profile cases that it was simply a matter of sour grapes as the whistle-blower was bitter as the Cabinet Minister was responsible for his sacking as a top executive of a State owned company.
The Ministers who torched the storm are Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, in a case stemming from the time he was Mines and Mining Development Minister, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo in an Air Zimbabwe saga, and Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira in a case relating to former NetOne boss Reward Kangai’s saga.
The cases have been in the public domain for some time, with Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi last Tuesday causing heated debate in the National Assembly over the issue during a discussion on the Finance Bill brought by Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa to implement the 2018 National Budget.
The legislator and some sections of society claimed President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was supposed to cause the arrest of the Cabinet Ministers implicated in alleged corrupt deals some of which they claimed dated to the era of former President Mugabe’s administration.
Zacc head of investigations, Commissioner Goodson Nguni, told Business Weekly on Tuesday the arrest of ministers in Government was done according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
He said people accused of wrong doing by Zacc were those who had been members of the previous Government who were attempting to politicise the anti–graft crusade as a factional investigation targeting political opponents.
“Zacc is mandated by the Constitution to follow only evidence to crime and we cannot be following someone’s political affiliation first and foremost. The issue is all the popular names that are being talked about who are supposed to be arrested; we do not have evidence of them having committed a crime and we cannot arrest ministers to please people.
“There was a story that came out in the media where somebody from Zacc was being quoted as having said they were investigating some officials in this Government. I want to tell you as chairman of the investigations committee that these is no current minister in Government that we are investigating and we are not investigating any Government minister not because we have been told not to investigate.
“In fact this Government has been very supportive. They are asking us to investigate everybody. There is just no evidence to justify an investigation. For example citizens of this country have written letters making allegations against Minister Obert Mpofu (when he was Mines and Mining Development). But the story that (the whistle-blower) gave us has a lot of false information and half-truths, half backed information that does not have evidence.
“For example he alleges that this minister took his $10.6 million. It is a lie. We asked the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. They told us that they never had $10 million in their account and certainly Minister Mpofu never took any money from MMCZ. We got a court order, we got the court documents and bank statements. There is no money like $10 million and Minister Mpofu did not take money from MMCZ; it’s a lie”.
Nguni said the same citizen wrote letters to Zacc saying Minister Mpofu looted his diamond mining equipment.
“There is no evidence to support that because all the evidence that was there is being used by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company. So we urge the public not to give us lies. You are upset over somebody who has fired you and start making stories about them saying they are corrupt while they are not corrupt. There is no evidence to link Minister Mpofu to any criminal activities and we are yet to be given that story,” said Nguni.
Core Mining and Minerals (Private) Limited director Lovemore Kurotwi, according to reports, wrote a letter to the anti-graft body requesting that it investigates Minister Mpofu over corruption. He also alleges $10,6 million which was in the custody of the MMCZ was seized while his mining equipment worth $14 million was also confiscated.
“In the case of Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, there is just no evidence to justify even calling him to question because there is nothing that is criminal in what he did, nothing at all. The allegations are that some money, $4 million, was supposed to be paid. We checked with the banks, the RBZ, no $4 million was paid and the allegations that Minister Mandiwanzira ordered the board to fire the former CEO (Kangai) is also as false as it is because it is the board that took the decision.
“The minister never played a part. So we have no issues to investigate Minister Mandiwanzira. It’s a pity that a citizen who lost his job is the one telling people all these stories but these is not evidence of any kind,” he said.
Allegations are that Minister Mandiwanzira was under Zacc probe on allegations of criminal abuse of office or corruption that were leveled against him by Kangai.
The former NetOne boss argues Minister Mandiwanzira engaged a South African firm for consultation services without going to tender as is standard procedure and Kangai claims he was shocked to receive an invoice for $4m which he claims that neither he as CEO nor the other board members knew about.
“Well, it’s not our duty to tell the nation about what is happening at Air Zimbabwe, but I can tell you there was no crime that was committed by Minister Gumbo, nothing. There are people who are saying because you said there are criminals around Mugabe, now they are trying to look for criminals in this Government. In the process of doing that, they are just making bar-room talk in calling that as pointers to a crime. There is nothing like that,” he said.
The legislators claimed all was not well at Air Zimbabwe, alleging Minister Gumbo did not handle well the change over from Air Zimbabwe to Zimbabwe Airways, calling for Zacc to probe the deal.