The Big Interview in conversation with Trevor
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo has only been in the job for a month, but already two high profile government officials are behind bars facing corruption charges.
Matanda-Moyo says she is determined to lead an effective fight against graft, which she said has become entrenched in various institutions.
Zacc has in the past been described as a tool used to fight Zanu PF factional wars.
However, Matanda-Moyo (LMM) told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN) in an exclusive interview on the platform: In Conversations with Trevor, that
processes were already underway to restore confidence in Zacc.
She also vowed to investigate cartels that allegedly control Zimbabwe’s fuel industry. Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, welcome to In Conversation with Trevor.
LMM: Thank you Trevor
TN: You have been on the hot seat for less than a month. How hot is the seat?
LMM: The seat is quite hot Trevor.
TN: Try and unpack that for us, what it means.
LMM: What it means is that when I came on to that seat the public had lost confidence in Zacc and coming in to such a seat has always been hot and the public
have so many expectations from Zacc and therefore the seat becomes hot.
TN: Are you intimidated? Are you frightened?
LMM: Not at all.
TN: Tell us about that.
LMM: I am not frightened.
TN: How confident are you, that you are going to meet the public expectations?
LMM: I am quite confident, looking at my background. I have come from a very long way. I rose through the system.
I joined the system as a public prosecutor. I have prosecuted before.
From prosecution I moved to the civil side of the law and I was in the civil division of the Attorney General’s office and I rose up to the ranks up to the
director of the civil division for some time then I moved to be the director of public prosecutions before moving to the bench.
TN: So that answers the question who is Loice Matanda Moyo. Well, let me get into the matter, you are married to the Foreign Affairs minister. You have got a
lovely family. Do you want to share with us, how many kids you have?
LMM: Well, we have got two children of our own. Two boys and one has just graduated this year with a degree in software engineering.
So we are quite excited. The other one is doing Lower 6 at the moment.
Two boys, but I have got a sister who passed on in 2004, she left two children.
I have taken those in as well. So they are our children, again we are looking after them. And the girl last year she had 9As at O Level.
LMM: Thank you.
TN: You are a mother, a wife, you are a judge.
LMM: Yes I am a mother and a wife.
TN: That is a busy life. People talk about work, life balance? Do you have that?
LMM: Yes I have got time to go to my sons’ schools. I look at their books.
I talk to the teachers. I have got time to cook for my family; I prepare the meals once in a while. We have meals together.
TN: What’s your favourite meal?
LMM: Traditional, for my family. My husband is traditional. He likes zviyo sadza and everything, but the boys will not take that. Road runner, nyevhe, that
sort of stuff.
TN: I must ask, I am struck by the double barreled surname Matanda-Moyo. What is the meaning of that?
LMM: Well, Matanda is my maiden name and Moyo is the married name.
Why I put a double barrelled name is to show my independence. I am my own person.
I don’t want people to feel that I am owned by anybody that is why the double barrelled name. My father’s name and husband’s name. So that’s it.
TN: You are stating that you are independent. And in a way answering people who say you are married to the minister of Foreign Affairs. Does that hinder you or help you in your every day job?
LMM: Being married to a minister I think it’s actually a positive thing because most people have been intimidated by ministers and people of high profile but because I have been married to one, I am not intimidated by people of high office.
So, I look at corruption from a corruption perspective and not from a point of who is involved. So that actually helps me a lot.
TN: So you are telling us that there won’t be any sacred cows.
LMM: Not at all.
TN: So, you will follow the paper trail?
LMM: I will follow the paper trail. And once there is evidence of corruption those people will be brought to book.
TN: Your pronouncements since you came into this job have, I think, have given the public some idea that you mean business. How are you going to do things
LMM. You see when I took over from the former Zacc (chairperson0, the office was not well-resourced.
So, I am going to make sure that the office is well-resourced so that it is able to carry out its mandate.
I am going to have the personnel trained so that the personnel themselves are able to deal with the matters that come before them. And we are not going to be
given any instructions from anywhere. We are our own people. We are going to ensure that Zacc is as independent as expected. That’s how we do our job
TN: You’re sounding confident that you don’t expect political hurdles coming in your way to stop you from doing your job?
LMM: I don’t expect any and I also believe that by appointing a judge, the political leaders do not want to interfere with Zacc.
TN: Let’s go to the issue that you have raised to do with resources. What is your budget at the moment?
LMM: Well, we haven’t received any budget allocation, but we are requesting what we want to work with and so far the government is actually coming to assist us
and giving us what we want.
TN: What do you want?
LMM: Computers. We want to computerise our docket system.
We want to manage dockets with computerisation because as you see trying to manage dockets using the manual system is quite difficult. Papers can be lost
through the way, but once you have papers computerised then our job will be easier and our evidence more secure.
TN: So granted this is the first month that you are in your job. Going forward where do you see the biggest need for financial resources arising from as far as
your work is concerned?
LMM: The biggest will be the investigation department and the asset recovery department. That’s where we want to put most of our resources in because that is
where our mandate is. So in order to fulfil our mandate we really need to put resources in that department.
TN: Tell us about how you handle a case from start to finish. Tell us in brief. Who is the complainant? Who brings the case to you and then investigation?
LMM: Anyone can bring a matter, [complainant] can be a member of the public it can be employees from that company.
It can be from the executive or political leaders.
So once we receive a case we then open a report book that we have received this type of report and that matter is allocated investigative officers.
They then find out whether there is evidence indeed and while there is evidence we compile that evidence and then put it into a docket system and put in
witnesses’ statements. We want the documentary evidence of any other evidence that will assist in bringing the person to book or in recovering the assets.
When that’s done, we look into the evidence itself and see whether any crime has been committed and then we formulate our charges and then bring the person for
a warned and cautioned statement, if it is criminal in nature. If not criminal in nature and its only civil, our legal department will then bring the matter
for suing in the civil courts.
TN: We have had instances prior to your coming where high level politicians have been arrested and the cases have been to court and nobody has been actually to
prison for crimes that they allegedly committed and that kind of thing. That has affected the public’s confidence in Zacc’s ability to carry out its work. Has
this now changed with you coming in?
LMM: Yes, with my coming in I have actually insisted in thorough investigations. The investigation department will investigate the matter. Before it goes
anywhere it is vetted by our legal department here.
And then the legal department looks at all the other legal elements where they have been proven in the dockets and once they are satisfied that docket will be
taken to the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority).
Again at the NPA before the docket is taken to court, they also look at the evidence and if they feel that there is anything missing, they refer it back for
investigation. So that’s the system that we have put in place.
TN: So you are assuring the public that the investigative side has been sharpened. That we are not going to have these cases like what is now popularly known
as catch and release. So this is the end of catch and release?
LMM: That is the end of catch and release.
TN: We have got a high level case at the moment, I the one before the courts. There is confidence that the evidence that has been unearthed is sufficient to
get the prosecution and determination in court.
LMM: Yes, according to us the evidence that we are getting will be enough to secure a conviction though we can’t go into details of the matter because the
matter is sub judice.
TN: Let’s go to the issue of capacity within you. How comfortable are you with all aspects of capacity within Zacc. The investigation capacity and all the
deliverables that are required to get prosecution successfully?
LMM: At the moment it’s out of reach, but what we have done is we are making synergies with our local universities. We are coming up with training modules and then we are going to be training our officers. I am happy to say that training has already started, i.e in-house training.
We carried out a lot of in-house training for our investigators and our legal officers on what is expected of them and how to conduct their work. So, I am
quite confident that the skills bit will be there in a short piece of time. Give us about three months, we should be talking of a different story.
TN: There is a lot of unsubstantiated allegations about a lot of cases. We have seen party associated youths come up with allegations, which were not tested.
Does that kind of behaviour, help your work in anyway?
LMM: That kind of behaviour does not help anybody. As I have said in my press statement. You cannot deal with corruption at a press conference. Corruption must
involve evidence. It is not about tarnishing the image and people’s names. People have got rights too. You see. So, if you do not have any evidence against
anyone of corruption, there is no reason to do a press statement and then list people as corrupt. As Zacc we do not support that.
We actually call upon anyone who has got allegations of corruption to report the matters for proper investigations and not to go about it at a press
TN: Are you going to act against those guys that went on to announce multitudes of allegations against people without any evidence?
LMM: Yes we have called those people to come forward with the evidence they have and so far they have not come forward with the evidence and if they continue
we will be forced to take action. As Zacc we don’t want to look like we are following somebody. To me it looks like they are trying to frustrate our work as
Zacc and I am not impressed by that at all.
TN: It’s tragic in a way because they are minimising something, which is very important that society is dealing with in a big way, which society finds is
affecting the quality of our life and for people to go out and make allegations without quoting evidence is a culture that we should try to discourage.
LMM: Yes, we should discourage that culture. We shouldn’t fight corruption politically. Corruption is a crime and has nothing to do with politics and anyone
can commit corruption irrespective of political affiliation.
So let’s not try and politicise the fight against corruption. Let’s fight corruption as a nation. Let’s come together as nation to fight corruption that’s why
my message is quite clear to Zimbabwe. Let’s come on board as Zimbabweans and assist each other and fight corruption. Let’s not politicise it because once we
politicise corruption, we trivialise the matter.
TN: Corruption is not partisan.
LMM: It is not partisan at all.
TN: It’s colour blind.
LMM: It’s colour blind
TN: Corruption drives away investors. We have heard of cartels in the fuel industry, cartels in the forex, in the market distorting the market, making people’s
lives difficult, crippling the economy. Are you looking into that and if you are, what progress are you making?
LMM: Yes, we are looking into that. We want to leave no stone unturned because our investigators are quite busy investigating. We have had it in our
intelligence department, which is going ahead with investigations. So we are still waiting for those reports to come through and once we look at those reports,
we then take the matters to our investigation unit and they will come up with dockets. We really want to break those cartels because if we want to move on as a
country, those cartels need to be broken.
TN: People are going to say you are a judge married to the Foreign Affairs minister, how are we to believe that the judge won’t have sacred cows when it comes
to dealing with corruption?
LMM: I am only married to one person, it’s the Foreign Affairs minister and it’s not the whole executive. And I do not have any relationship with the
executive. I do not move in their circles and I am not close to the executive, so I am not going to be influenced by somebody and being a judge I understand
what it means to be independent. I take my oath of office seriously. And if you check my record I have never favoured anybody in my dealings and I have been
dealing with those cases as a judge on the bench.
TN: So you will be able to push against the political interests?
LMM: Yes, I can.
TN: Justice, what will be the key three or so things that you think will be important for you to be successful in your office.
LMM: For me to be successful in my office I need support from the public. I will need the legal framework in place like a Whistleblowers Act as I have been
saying it is a very crucial piece of information. You can’t fight corruption without the witnesses. This corruption is happening at work places, for example.
So, once somebody comes over with some information, basically they will receive a backlash from the organisation that they will be working for. Some will even
be fired. Some will even be suspended. We have seen it in the past. And it’s very crucial that we get the legal framework to fight corruption.
TN: What’s the status of that legal framework?
LMM: It’s in the Attorney General’s office.
TN: Do you expect any improvement in your work once the whistleblowers’ protection and the witness protection is in place?
LMM: Definitely, people will be brave to come forward. They will be confident to bring their matters knowing that no repercussions will come their way.
TN: When you look back let’s say five years back, what would success look like to you five years down the line when you are writing your reports. What would
success look like?
LMM: Success to me will be a reduction in the corruption incidences in the country where we have strong institutions. We need strong institutions like our
judiciary, NPA [and] police force.
We all need them to be strong so that they will be able to deal with whatever comes their way, to deal with the scourge of corruption so that our country will
even be prosperous and we start seeing investors coming in, as corruption scares away investors. So we will have a better country five years down the line,
once we start fighting corruption.
I am hopeful that we are going to get there.
TN: The job we have got is a tough job.
LMM: Yes it is.
TN: It’s a dangerous job.
LMM: Yes, indeed
TN: Do you feel safe?
LMM: I feel safe. I am very prayerful. I actually believe in God. I want to believe that I am not here accidentally, that this is divine appointment.
And I am not afraid of anybody and I want to believe that Zimbabweans generally are not violent people.
What we are simply trying to do is to remove the scourge of corruption from the country but I know corruption fights back. It’s a dangerous job.
TN: Corruption can be well resourced. Are you ready for that? It fights back.
LMM: It fights back. That’s why we want to be resourced and we will need to also backup on our security side.
TN: If we are to be candid with ourselves, corruption has become a sub-culture. It affects the politicians. It’s the police who are corrupt, judiciary there
is corruption, your common citizens are paying bribes for drivers’ licences and all sorts of things. Where do you start? One would go to the extent that we are
all corrupt, where are you gonna start?
LMM: Exactly, corruption has actually become a way of life in our country.
It’s actually sad, but what we have done here we have departmentalised Zacc.
We have got the awareness and publicity department and it’s going right into the communities to make people aware of the dangers of corruption and how
corruption can destroy a nation and we are also coming up with preventative methods to try and prevent the occurrence of corruption.
So whilst we want to punish corruption which has happened in the past. It is also our interest to prevent future corruption.
So, we are working on all those things at the same time.
TN: How big is that, the interface with the public, educating the public?
LMM: I think so far it has about 30.
TN: With the staffing level?
LMM: We are coming up with an organogram where we want to decentralise in the regions so that we will communicate our message faster and we will be with people in those regions.
As you are also aware the Judicial Service Commission have opened anti-corruption courts in Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and Bulawayo.
So it’s us who are lagging behind and we are not in those cities.
TN: How do you interface with your anti-corruption courts?
LMM: We are supposed to be feeding into the anti-corruption courts.
TN: And the ZRP anti-corruption unit, is there a link between you and them?
LMM: Yes we want to ensure that we do not duplicate our functions because if we don’t interface then there is a possibility for us investigating the same
So we are interacting with the police anti-corruption unit.
TN: If the police is involved Justice, why do you want arresting powers?
LMM: The police are the police and we are an independent unit.
Zacc was established after Zimbabwe ratified the UN Convention against corruption and it’s a requirement under article 5 that there be an agent which fights
So it is a requirement within the UNGAC and the Sadc protocol that there be independent agents to fight corruption.
The police cannot handle corruption at the moment seeing they are also investigating murders, robberies, theft. Just think of any other crime.
TN: So having arresting powers is an international best practice. Is that what you saying?
LMM: Yes, and some in the world have gone further to prosecute their own matters. In other countries they actually prosecute their own matters.
TN: Can we expect that in the country. Do we have that capacity? Is that what you want?
LMM: Yes, in future but right now we don’t have capacity, right now we will feed into the NPA. Yes and see how it goes.
TN: Let’s go the National Society Security Authority (NSSA) report, which you have looked at. I wish I was you having seen what’s in there. We have got
(Tourism) minister Priscah Mupfumira, who is in remand prison at the present moment. Are we to expect any other bombshells?
LMM: Yes, from the NSSA report more people will fall.
TN: And you cannot tell who they are?
LMM: Yes of course I won’t tell you because I am bound by ethics.
TN: But there is going to be more shocks coming?
TN: Any timelines like when is this going to happen?
LMM: We are still investigating because before arrest we want to be sure that the persons are likely guilty.
We don’t want to harass people who are innocent.
TN: And also you have a peep in the Auditor General’s report, which was shocking, been shocking over the past many years and nothing had happened to anybody.
Can we expect something different thus time. Are we to expect you to take action following the current Auditor General’s report?
LMM: Yes, we have started following up on the AG’s report. I think last week we had convictions of persons who were selling drugs from hospitals because we
really thought that was at the people’s hearts to find that at Parirenyatwa Hospital, for example, they do not have drugs yet some people are stealing those
drugs and selling them on the black market.
So those people are now being convicted and are awaiting their sentencing.
So we are following up on the AG’s reports. What we have done is we have gone through the reports and we are isolating them into criminal and civil.
Where its civil we just want to refer them to our asset recovery unit so that we recover those monies from organisations and persons mentioned.
TN: No catch and release?
LMM: Yes no catch and release. I promise the nation on that.
TN: Crime becomes sophisticated and I am delighted to hear you talking about requesting technology. How ready are you to be able to track high level
corruption, corruption that might involve international cartels. How ready are you to deal with that?
LMM: We are still working on that. What we have done at the moment is that we are coming up with memoranda of understanding with other countries.
One with Botswana is ready for signatures. We are just waiting for Botswana to tell us when. We have requested a date.
And with Zambia we are drafting an MOU. We have actually also engaged the international communities to do tracking.
And they are keen to come on board to help us track where our monies ended up in.
So once we find out that we have got monies let’s say in Dubai or in UK we engage those countries to see how we can recover those assets.
TN: Is it really helpful?
LMM: Yes it is. So helpful.
TN: I asked you about what success is going to look like in five years. As you sit here you are sounding very confident, passionate, you are ready for the
job. Reality is there may be some pushback, will that weigh you down?
LMM: Not at all. I am passionate to fight corruption. I have been in the field for a long time. And so I will not be worn down.
TN: Tell us about the transition being a judge on the bench and you headed to Zacc. How is that?
LMM: It’s just coming to the other side of the world. My work is going to be tried by other judges there.
So, yes its quite tough time. It will give me pressure because my colleagues will have to weigh my work. So I will try to give them the quality that they look
TN: Justice, Zimbabweans are watching you, they are expecting so much from you. I am going to give you an opportunity now to address Zimbabweans. What are you
going to tell them concerning corruption and what are you going to do?
LMM: Yes, I want to tell them that I am ready to fight corruption but I cannot do it alone.
I want Zimbabweans to come on board so that we fight this corruption together.
If we fail to get there as a nation and if we succeed as a nation.
So if Zimbabwe is not supportive, if you don’t come along and we fight this corruption, then we lose together. So I want to tell the people of Zimbabwe that
this is their war but I have come as their leader.
I am just leading the process and I will need followers. I can’t fight it alone. So come through and fight this together I won’t let you down
TN: What do you expect from the public?
LMM: From the public I expect cooperation, I expect those with information to come with the information.
I expect the witnesses to come up and testify in court and testify boldly so that we get those convictions that we want.
We want to recover the assets from those persons who have robbed the nation of the much wanted resources that we want.
I want those members of the public with that information to come forward so that they help me with that evidence so that we recover what is owed to the nation
and we put the assets back to public space.
We also have the mandate combat corruption in the private sector and I also want the private sector not to offer bribes to the public sector because it takes
two to tango and you find that sometimes it’s the private sector, which actually comes to government and start offering these percentages in companies they say
give me this and I will give you 5%.
The private sector must stop offering bribes. We must go back to having corporate governance and being accountable, so that we actually nip this corruption in
TN: Any messages to politicians?
LMM: Politicians do not interfere with us. We want to do our job independently and may we also stop being corrupt and go into politics because we want we want
to serve the nation.
Don’t go into politics because you want to line up your pockets.
So it’s time to reassess yourselves and if you got into politics to align your pockets with ill-gotten wealth get out of politics.