THIRTY-SIX high-profile figures, who have assets worth a combined US$4,5 million, are the target of a fresh lifestyle audit that is being conducted by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), it has emerged.
The anti-graft body recently seized and forfeited 10 mansions and 22 luxury vehicles worth US$8 million. The assets belong to, among others, former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi, Gender Commission chair Margaret Sangarwe, Russel Mweye — a former staffer at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals — and ex-Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said the fight against corruption was now in full swing.
“Asset recovery is proceeding well. We are currently handling 36 cases to do with asset recovery running into more than US$4,5 million,” he said.
ZACC believes forfeiting proceeds of crime is the most effective way of fighting the vice as it makes the commission of offences not worthwhile.
The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act was amended to permanently enable asset recovery notwithstanding a criminal conviction.
Commissioner Makamure said the Anti-Corruption Commission Lay Bill, which provides for whistleblower protection, was being scrutinised by the Attorney-General’s Office.
Whistleblowers need a legal provision to protect them from abuse by corruption suspects.
“The AG and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs have been engaged to speed up enactment. In that Bill is a comprehensive section on whistleblower protection,” said the ZACC spokesperson.
The fight against graft, he said, was key in achieving President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, which is premised on the creation of a relatively prosperous society where people enjoy high standards of living.
“The greatest achievement is the development of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy through a highly consultative process. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy Steering Committee has diverse representation and held its inaugural meeting two weeks ago. The six sub-committees will hold their inaugural meetings mid-October,” he said.
“Basically, ZACC has managed to bring all key stakeholders together in the fight against corruption. It is no longer a ‘them and us’ approach.
“Cases are now moving in the courts due to the setting up of anti-corruption courts and hiring of dedicated prosecutors for these courts. Over 50 dockets have been completed by ZACC and submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution. Our target is 80 this year.”
As part of concerted efforts to rein in corrupt activities, ZACC signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with organisations such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and Department of Immigration, among others.
“Just last week we signed an MoU with the Parliament of Zimbabwe, which is a vital player in the anti-corruption fight.”