Source: ‘Nothing personal against Prof Moyo’ | The Herald October 15, 2016
The Interview Tichaona Zindoga
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa are in the eye of a storm following allegations that they may have misappropriated close to half a million dollars from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF). They both fervently deny the allegations and have in turn raised issues around the politics of the ruling party ZANU-PF and the credibility of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and in particular Commissioner Goodson Nguni (GN), the chairman of the investigating arm. Our Political Editor Tichaona Zindoga (TZ) takes him to task and also seeks to know just how ZACC conducts itself in this critical area.
TZ: First of all, Commissioner Nguni, from what we have heard from the newspapers lately following what has been said to be an attempted arrest of Professor Moyo on allegations of fraud, there seems to be a political hand driving you in particular and the commission in general. Can you just shed light on how you operate as ZACC and your office as investigations chairperson?
GN: First of all, can I make it very clear that there is no personal battle between me and Minister Moyo, there is no grudge. Before I became a member of the commission, I was also a member of Zanu-PF. Of course now I am not a member anymore because the Constitution does not allow me.
What happens here is that there is a direct attempt by people that have been caught on the wrong side of the law to politicise this matter as a strategy to get away from facing justice.
The truth of the matter is that no commissioner has the authority to order an investigation to begin. No commissioner has the authority to stop an investigation. No commissioner has the individual authority to determine what should happen in the commission. In terms of the Constitution and the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, all decisions taken by the commission must be by majority decision taken at a vote for it to become a resolution.
So, this is how we work, if someone brings a story making allegations of corruption, the secretary of the commission takes the matter to the full commission meeting and tells us that we have received an allegation of this nature. The commission sees if there is merit in the case, then they mandate the investigations subcommittee to investigate the matter.
The investigations subcommittee has got a lot of investigators employed by ZACC, the managers will then decide on who are the investigators to work on the case. What happens is that when they finish their investigation, the investigation subcommittee is given the report from the investigations and they must report to the main committee. Then, a decision is proposed, seconded and taken about taking a way forward.
I as chairman of the investigations committee do not have the individual authority to order an investigation. In this Jonathan Moyo case, I want to state very clearly that a whistle-blower, who took part in the fraud approached the commission and told the commission that, “I may have committed an offence and I want to report myself”. Then he explained to us the fraud, that is how we got to know the story. It is not personal at all.
TZ: Connected to that, please clarify to us about this particular factional political cause that you are being accused of championing?
GN: In the past I was aligned to the political cause of Zanu-PF, I was a member and an activist who supported Zanu-PF policies. I still support Zanu-PF policies and I think that Zanu-PF is doing a good job with this country but I am not an active member anymore. It is my democratic right to support them.
I don’t support any faction in Zanu-Pf and I support the Government of Zimbabwe and the President of that Government is Robert Mugabe and I am loyal to the State and the Government under Robert Mugabe.
TZ: There have been expressed worries about your suitability for your current office as you are being labelled a convicted fraudster. Can you be clear around this issue — whether you are a convicted fraudster and thus unfit to be leading investigations at ZACC?
GN: Thank you very much. Let me tell you something, for you to be convicted you have to be arrested by the police and then you are taken to a court of law, the charges put to you, evidence is laid against you and then the judge finds you guilty and sentences you to something. I have never been arrested by the police anywhere in the world, not in South Africa, not in Zimbabwe.
I have never appeared in any court in South Africa or in a court in Zimbabwe. In short, I have never been convicted in any court of law on this earth. Those people who are calling me a fraudster do not have an understanding of what a conviction means.
For example, there were allegations against Professor Moyo by Ford Foundation, there were allegations of a dishonest nature in Kenya when he was employed there. Does that mean he was convicted? The answer is no, because he never went to court.
So, I am not a convicted fraudster, I had decided to do nothing about it but next week summons are flying, they will be fast and furious. All those people who have been saying that I am a convicted fraudster, I am going to sue them next week.
TZ: Just going back to ZACC, does ZACC have the capacity to prosecute corruption in this country? Many people have felt it is just a toothless bulldog and one prone to manipulation.
GN: ZACC has the capacity, among the commissioners are very seasoned investigators, there are senior former commissioners of the police, highly qualified public accountants who held very senior positions in Government and in the public sector. There are very highly qualified and seasoned administrators like the chairman Job Wabira.
There are highly skilled persons there holding first, second and third degrees. All those people bring knowledge, expertise and experience to ZACC. We are also privileged to have an acting secretary of ZACC who is highly qualified, holding a master’s degree, a highly qualified police officer and we work very well with the police.
Whenever there is a matter going on, we work with the police and then when we have decided that there is a prima facie case, we recommend to the police to arrest them.
It is the police that has been arresting people, not ourselves as ZACC.
The police will only arrest somebody when there is a prima facie case of an offence, that’s when they agree. We don’t take matters to the court, we must take the dockets with the evidence that we have to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and they must decide whether someone goes to court or not, not ZACC.
There is misconception by a lot of people that ZACC arrests people, that ZACC takes people to court. No we don’t do that. We work well with the police. People must not forget that ZRP is the premier policing organisation in Zimbabwe. We all play a supplementary role to their activities.
TZ: How about these allegations that you have been curtailed by Zanu-PF, lately, trying to “arrest” Professor Moyo? Does that not make you a lame organisation as it were?
GN: First of all, it is false to say Zanu-PF told us not to interview Minister Moyo, of course he has been running away from us and we have not been able to get hold of him. I am not aware of any communication coming from Zanu-PF to tell us not to arrest Moyo.
This is something that is playing out in the media, I haven`t been told officially by anybody because Zanu-PF hasn’t got the legal standing to tell ZACC who to investigate or not.
This story of Zanu-PF interfering I read it in the paper, but nobody from Zanu-PF has told us not to arrest Moyo.
I hear Zanu-PF saying this and saying that, but nobody has communicated anything to us. We are looking for Minister Moyo to come and explain to us his role and to explain to us if the investigations we have contain wrong information which does not appear to be committing of an offence. We want him to come and explain that to us, he has been running away from talking to us.
We called him, asking him to come to our offices, he promised to come on a Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, he ran away saying he has been called to some higher office he couldn’t come. When we called him, he said he was busy and would see us on Wednesday and since that time he has been running away.
I want to clarify this matter once and for all, when we went to Zanu-PF, we had not made a decision to arrest him, we had gone there to meet with him and tell him that we would like him to come to our offices.
This story that he is saying that he was about to be arrested, I don’t know where this is coming from, we never made that resolution in the commission.
TZ: But I am sure somewhere we read that he vowed never to interface with you and would even go to the Constitutional Court. How would that play out?
GN: It is his democratic right to go to the Constitutional Court, we can’t stop him. But I must also tell him that there is evidence which we have that is solid evidence. It says to us the beneficiaries of money that was given by Zimdef, in relation to the charges we are laying were Professor Moyo, Gandawa and Honzeri, the professional assistant to Professor. And that the person who facilitated them was Mandizvidza and a guy called Maputo, who is the financial director.
That evidence we have is solid and nobody can deny that the evidence that we have which was legally obtained, tells us very clearly that no money on the charges that were put to him was ever given to any political party. Not even Zanu-PF got hold of that money.
It is a lie that the money that we are accusing him of having committed fraud was used to fund the Million-Man March because some of these payments were done in 2015 and we know who was paid. The bicycles, the tricycles, the rent for Fuzzy Technology, the loan repayments by Gandawa and monies that were given to NGOs, given to for example, Mduduzi Mathuthu.
So we know where all that money went and we have accounted for it. Nowhere is Zanu-PF mentioned.
TZ: There is the issue that in Zimbabwe there are a lot of corrupt activities going on and now there is a feeling that there are selective prosecutions which some people would call persecutions. How would you answer to that?
GN: First of all, we arrested the Mayor of Harare, he is a member of the MDC-T. We want to question Jonathan Moyo, he is a member of Zanu-PF. We have arrested a lot of people from zinara, from ZBC, this is not selective. How can you call it selective?
Jonathan Moyo is from Zanu-PF, Gandawa is from Zanu-PF. We are investigating other organisations that have nothing to do with the opposition. It is not selective.
TZ: How much trust can the people of Zimbabwe invest in ZACC as an independent Chapter 12 organisation or commission? Is it not prone to any manipulation or what are the safeguards around that issue to ensure impartiality?
GN: We have a Constitution. If we do not do our work, citizens can approach the courts. We have a Constitution, if we don’t do our work properly, the appointing authority, the Executive branch of Government can take action against us.
Nobody is manipulating us. The Executive, right now the President is very supportive against corruption. Totally against corruption the President is. Other people below him are the ones who are fighting against ZACC because they are fighting to protect corrupt activities by some of their friends and colleagues. But not the President. The President is very clear about his stance on corruption.
Just like people want to malign him and link President Mugabe to anything that is happening right now at ZACC, he is not involved, I can tell you this because he told us when he appointed us that you must work without fear or without favour.