ZACC Calls on Parliament to Expedite Money Laundering Bill

Letwin Mubonesi

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission body (ZACC) seems to be working tirelessly to recover what has been lost. To date its recorded to have recovered over $10 million and has vowed to continue pouncing on some Government officials who are abusing their offices while taking government funds for their personal gains. It remains to be seen whether this will be impartial including those who have been claimed to have been looting despite their closeness to the ruling political party or the president.

The money was recovered from tax evaders and individuals who had acquired illicit wealth while abusing their offices.

A few months ago the body instituted the arrest of the then ex-cabinet minister Priscah Mupfumira following the NSSA Audit report which also exposed the rot in the institution. It is however said that the recent arrest of former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko was not politically-motivated and it does not take instructions from anyone to bring to book law-breakers.

Commissioner John Makamure who is the ZACC spokesperson said that Mphoko’s arrest sought to finalise a case which the previous commission had failed to dispose of, adding that they had so far recovered over $10 million from its efforts to end corruption, but said the figure could be more if Parliament passes an Act on the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill (2019) which is currently before the House.

The contents of the Bill mainly focuses on empowering corruption-fighting. It also gives the state agents like the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), ZACC and the police to demand explanations from people who acquire wealth above their known legitimate means.

Included in this Bill is that some law enforcement agents will have powers to question people who would be leading luxurious lifestyles from inexplicable sources of income, as the Government moves in to curb corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, among other vices.

This however is disputed by some sections of society who have indicated that the police is also compromised together with many government workers whose salaries do not match that of their life styles. When bosses in these institutions which are supposed to hold others accountable to their wealth are also living lavish lifestyles, who will police them? How will this bill not become a tool of abuse for those who have scores to settle with others?

Commissioner Makamure said, “ZACC is now prioritizing revenue and asset recovery. Those who have stolen Government revenue or misuse Government assets will be pursued, ZACC is keen to recover those assets. So far ZACC is pleased with its achievement in that regard. Since we came into office, ZACC has managed to recover over $10 million that has since been paid to ZIMRA, through ZACC’s efforts. So we want to intensify recovery. We need to intensify revenue recovery so that it aids economic recovery.”

“I would like to call upon Parliament to expeditiously pass legislation to do with unexplained wealth because that will facilitate ZACC to be able to ensure that ill-gotten wealth, wealth that was acquired through corrupt activities is forfeited to the State.

There is a law that is before Parliament for someone to explain how you acquired that wealth. Parliament must quickly pass that law to facilitate our work. The point is asset and revenue recovery is very important, we need enabling legislation,” said the ZACC spokesperson.

While commenting on the arrest of former VP Mphoko, Mr Makamure said ZACC did not act on the directive of anyone but merely exercised its constitutional duty and mandate to fight crime whenever they happen to find the leads.

Mr Makamure was responding to some media reports that the arrest of VP Mphoko was politically motivated.

He said that, “We look at the story as an attempt by certain sections of the media to divert public attention from a serious case of abuse of office by the former Vice President. This is not a new case, it is a case that happened in 2016 or thereabout, so what ZACC simply did was to finalise that matter. The previous commission was unable to finalise it probably because of their own ineptitude. But the new ZACC simply took over that matter and we are finalizing it, so there has been no attempt by anyone to direct us to deal with the matter in a certain way. The matter is now before the courts which the previous commission was unable to do”.

“ZACC is guided by the Constitution, which is very clear that there should be no interference by anyone and we have not come across that interference. On the contrary, the highest political office has been very supportive as evidenced by His Excellency President Mnangagwa being the Guest of Honour at our national Anti-Corruption Awareness launch, a joint programme between us and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Also Government recently gave ZACC additional funding through supplementary budget, funding which we believe will enable us to carry our operations. We are grateful of the additional funding we got. This is what the Government should be seen to be doing because the Constitution requires that independent Commissions be adequately funded.”
He emphasized that the independent body will arrest anyone who upon reasonable grounds was suspected to have committed corruption or abused his or her office.

“The former VP’s case must send a strong signal that ZACC will pounce at anyone who abuse his or her social status to interfere with judicial processes. So ZACC, without fear or favour will pounce at anyone who interfere with judicial processes, that is a serious case of abuse of office. Let me say that the fight against corruption is a fight that requires everyone’s participation including the media. The media is a strong ally in this fight,” said Mr Makamure.

Commissioner John Makamure Spokes Person for ZACC

Nyari Mashayamombe

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