Special anti-corruption unit begins work

The Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet is poring through tons of documentary evidence which could be used to prosecute cases of grand corruption, with some bigwigs facing arraignment before the courts.

The crack unit, established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to improve efficiency in prosecuting graft cases, was operationalised in the past fortnight and is now combing through evidence provided by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

Official lines of communication have been established between the unit, Zacc and the police to facilitate ease of sharing information on cases of interest.

Mr Tabani Mpofu, a renowned lawyer and former State prosecutor, heads the six-member team that also includes lawyers from Government, private practice and experienced prosecutors.

Other members on the team include Messrs Brian Vito, Tapiwa Godzi, Mike Chakandida, Zivanai Macharaga and Ms Vernanda Chakandida.

The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with Zaccc, the police and other such institutions in the fight against corruption, assisting Zacc and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of corruption dockets; and subject to the issuance of Authority to Prosecute by the Prosecutor-General (PG), to prosecute corruption cases referred to the National Prosecuting Authority by investigative agencies.

Members of the unit are bound by the Official Secrets Act (Chapter 11:10).

Therefore, The Sunday Mail established that some of the cases under investigation could be brought before the courts soon but could not ascertain the individuals who are under probe.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza told The Sunday Mail last week that high-profile cases are under investigation.

“The unit that was set up by the President on the advice of the Minister of Justice is now in place.

“It is there to complement efforts to combat corruption by other units who have the legal mandate to do so.

“They had their first meeting recently and have already begun interacting with both the ZRP and Zacc,” said Mrs Mabhiza.

“They received documents from those agencies and they are now looking at them to establish whether there is enough evidence to proceed with investigating or prosecuting the cases.

“According to their terms of reference, they can only prosecute after getting a green light from the office of the Prosecutor-General.

“The PG may issue them or decline to do so in terms of the law.

“The documents they have received, in some cases, are not dockets but could soon mature into dockets.

She added: “They are already handling high-profile cases.”

Justice Minister Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi said: “The President has identified lawyers in the public service and former prosecutors, as well as others in private practice, to form the unit, who are well versed with dealing with cases of corruption.

“They will help with compiling dockets and once they have completed, they will seek authority to prosecute from the Prosecutor-General.

“Ultimately, it is the decision of the PG to grant them authority to do so.

“I am told they have already begun work on some cases which have been referred to them by Zacc and the police.”

Mr Mpofu told this publication last week that the body was established to compliment the work of other crime-busting agencies established by law.

He said they will also deal with cases of fraud.

“The special anti-corruption unit was created by the President to compliment the work of other institutions mandated by the constitution to fight corruption,” said Mr Mpofu.

“The team is comprised of individuals with investigative and prosecution experience; some lawyers drawn from the private practice.

“Prosecuting is, per se, not the core business of this unit, but it is envisaged that members may prosecute when they are given the authority to do so by the PG. Corruption and fraud cases are our core business.

He continued: “You of course are aware of the constraints that are placed on our interaction with the public in terms of the Official Secrets Act, so all I can indicate to you now is that we have commenced work.

“We hope that as a result of our efforts, the public will be able to see the results of Government’s fight against corruption very soon.”

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