via ZMDC corruption probe ‘cautiously welcomed’ | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Monday, September 23, 2013
News of an investigation being launched into an alleged fraud plot at the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) is being cautiously welcomed, with the government being urged to tackle all incidents of corruption.
The probe follows revelations by Robert Mugabe last week that former ZMDC chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa allegedly demanded and received a US$6 million bribe from a Ghanaian investor. The Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the police are understood to have swiftly launched an investigation into the alleged fraud, following Mugabe’s public outburst.
The Centre for Resource Governance on Monday welcomed the development, but insisted the investigation “should not be limited to one individual.”
“The outburst by President Mugabe, though surprising since corruption has been endemic and systemic in Zimbabwe’s extractive sector in recent years, resonates well with the feelings of the general public who feel Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth is benefiting political elites and corrupt foreign business entities whilst impoverishing communities and depriving government of revenue,” the group said in a statement.
The group said: “It is however the manner and the platform in which the allegations were raised and the sudden swinging to action of the Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission which raises more questions than answers”
Early this year the ZACC obtained a search warrant to investigate the then Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche, amid widespread reports on corruption in those ministries. The commission also sought to investigate the ZMDC among other parastatals for alleged corruption in awarding mining contracts.
But the ZACC was blocked by the police and several commissioners were persecuted with arrest in the wake of that clampdown.
Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba, the regional coordinator for the Anti Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa) said the probe now is a good opportunity for the new government to tackle the endemic corruption problem in Zimbabwe.
“We appreciate that the President has finally come to his sense in seeing that corruption is such a problem. Our original calls for investigations into the ZMDC fell on deaf ears, so we hope this is the start of a wider crackdown on corruption,” Chaumba told SW Radio Africa.