Anti-graft drive targets more bigwigs

Source: Anti-graft drive targets more bigwigs | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Norman Muchemwa
More high-profile corruption cases will soon be brought before the courts as Government escalates the fight against graft, Acting Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi has said.

To this end, Government has recruited more prosecutors to cover all the country’s 59 districts. In an interview with The Sunday Mail last week, Mr Hodzi said: “Certainly, you are going to see high-profile cases being prosecuted. The public demands that and we demand that at the end of the day.

“The whole anti-corruption thrust, which has captured the imagination of the people, and what the President has said both at his first inauguration and when he ushered in the Second Republic was that the fight against corruption is going to be central to economic recovery.

“Frankly speaking, people are tired, people know very well that it is corruption which is causing things like potholes on the roads, shortages of goods, and it has to do with these corrupt syndicates.

“People are not fools, they want to see justice and corruption is going to be dealt with decisively and dismantled. People will be arrested and more will be brought before the courts soon.”

Government waived a moratorium on recruitment to add 317 prosecutors. The NPA wanted an extra 653 prosecutors.

“The 653 figure was arrived at by the board when they wanted to increase the whole establishment of NPA. It was a projection of what would be the ideal number of prosecutors in the country.

“The establishment that was approved by Treasury was 317 prosecutors. We have an establishment that is approved by Treasury of 317 officers, which has been filled except for one position.”

NPA wants to recruit more prosecutors to staff two new units – the Crime Intelligence Directorate and the Environment Crime Directorate – which are being established.

The Asset Seizure Unit, which will be responsible for recovering assets acquired through corrupt means, is being re-organised.

“You know very well that we are in the process of re-organising Assets Seizure and Forfeiture Unit. Criminals are flashing their ill-gotten wealth disgorged from criminal gains, so this unit will act as a deterrent. In other regional countries, the same units are contributing well to Treasury,” said the Acting PG.

The NPA has previously been accused of dragging its feet and bringing half-baked graft cases to court.

However, Mr Hodzi said the crime-fighting body will “brutally” self-introspect and adjust its operations accordingly.

“My management has deliberately adopted an attitude that we will look ourselves in the eye and we will brutally address any shortcomings that we exhibit. At the end of day, we are there to serve the people and people must receive quality justice.

“We will address any problem we identify in our department squarely and brutal. We are not going to blame other departments for our failures.”

Some of the delays in corruption cases, he said, were because accused persons appealed to higher courts for relief.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has made the fight against corruption one of its key priorities.