Bridget Mananavire 15 April 2017
HARARE – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is struggling to get
enough cash to bankroll its operations, acting Prosecutor General (PG) Ray
Goba has said.
The NPA – responsible for instituting and undertaking criminal
prosecutions on behalf of the State and discharging any functions that are
necessary or incidental to such prosecutions – is a constitutional body
ushered in with the advent of the new charter adopted in 2013.
It came into being in July 2014 after President Robert Mugabe signed the
NPA Act into law, paving way for the operationalisation of the prosecuting
authority which used to be part of the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office.
Goba said the agency had inherited the troubles of the AG’s criminal
division, which used to be responsible for public prosecution before the
establishment of the authority.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted that government was well aware
that the NPA was facing a critical funding shortfall.
Speaking at the launch of the NPA strategic plan on Thursday, Goba said
the authority needed to have its own building.
“Being a new institution, the NPA has inherited some of the disadvantages
that the criminal division had, including, inadequate office space and
facilities, lack of transport at all stations countrywide, insufficient
office equipment and stationery and most importantly human resources,” he
“Currently, the NPA is dreadfully in arrears in terms of office rentals
for its head office. I shall not disclose the figure in this forum.
However, there is urgent need to clear those arrears, as the likely
consequences are too ghastly to contemplate.”
Goba said the criminal division under the AG office was not an independent
institution, but the establishment of the NPA ushered in a new era.
“Fundamentally, the NPA is an independent institution with exclusive
responsibility of instituting and undertaking all public prosecutions on
behalf of the state,” Goba said.
Mnangagwa – who is also the Justice minister – said they were hoping that
development partners continue to support the authority’s programme to see
the implementation of the five-year strategic plan.
“We as the executive acknowledge the difficult operating environment in
which the NPA was weaned into. The NPA need financial resources to realise
the goals set in this strategic plan.
“However, the NPA has endeavoured to set its foundation and fulfil its
constitutional mandate despite the myriad of financial challenges it is
facing,” Mnangagwa said.
“The government acknowledges with gratitude, the financial material and
moral support that our development partners, notably, the European Union
and the International Commission of Jurists have rendered in the
development of the strategic plan and hope that they continue to support
its implementation through concrete programmes.”
He also stressed the importance of the independence of the NPA.
“The NPA as established under section 258 of the Constitution as separate,
independent and accountable institution responsible for instituting and
undertaking criminal prosecutions on behalf of the State, promoting a just
fair system for all persons approaching the courts and protecting the
rights of the arrested and detained as provide for by the Constitution.
“It is therefore very important to underscore the importance and
independence of this office, as it is not subject to the direction or
control of anyone, hence the prosecutor general must exercise his or her
functions impartially, without fear, favour, prejudice or bias.
“No one should influence this office and the office must not allow itself
to be influenced by anyone in as far as their core business is concerned,
that is, criminal prosecutions,” Mnangagwa said.