via Police: We can’t just arrest ‘Cashberts’ 16/02/2014 by Staff Reporter NewZimbabwe
POLICE have rejected allegations of dragging their feet over the ‘Salarygate’ scandal and insisted they cannot take action against executives accused of looting from public enterprises without evidence of criminality.
The scandal has sparked national outrage with struggling Zimbabweans shocked to learn that heads of insolvent State enterprises were earning tens of thousands of dollars while ordinary workers went without pay.
Happison Muchechetere, the suspended CEO of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) was earning about $40,000 while ordinary workers went without pay for seven months and the broadcaster struggled with debt.
At the government-owned health insurer PSMAS, CEO Cuthbert Dube was reportedly earning $230,000 while the company failed to pay service providers resulting in members having to pay upfront for healthcare.
However there have been no arrests at both PSMAS and ZBC although executives at Air Zimbabwe were picked up last week over a $9 million insurance fraud.
ZRP national spokesperson, Charity Charamba said police were waiting for the completion of audit reports and formal complaints.
“Police do not just arrest to investigate but need to gather evidence that link the suspect to the commission of the offence before effecting an arrest,” Charamba told The Herald.
“In the case of Cuthbert Dube, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is the complainant and police are still waiting for the ministry to finalise its audit report. Once the Ministry of Health, as the parent ministry, makes a formal complaint on behalf of Government, we will act on the matter.”
She added: “The same applies to the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services which is conducting its forensic audit, which will eventually assist in compiling the necessary evidence to deal with the ZBC issue.
“Yes, we do appreciate the role of the media in informing and educating the nation but there is no way the media can be complainants in these cases. As a professional police force, we shall not be swayed by the so- called ‘court of public opinion’ into arbitrarily arresting suspects without establishing facts and the necessary evidence.”
Opposition parties have dismissed the government’s ant-corruption drive as insincere and an attempt to divert public attention from the failing economy.