‘We will not be influenced by anyone’

07 Jul, 2019 - 00:07 0 Views
‘We will not be influenced by anyone’ President Mnangagwa swears in the newly appointed Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission chairperson Loice Mtanda Moyo at State House in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

The Sunday Mail

Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa recently appointed a new Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo to lead the fight against graft, which is considered one of the major factors weighing down the country’s economic development aspirations. Our Investigations Editor Brian Chitemba spoke to Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo about her plans to transform the anti-graft body from a toothless bulldog into an effective law enforcement agent. We publish her responses below.

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y vision for Zacc is to see a corrupt-free Zimbabwe; to see quality investigations of matters by way of enhancing skills of our investigators. I will be conducting training for our personnel and right now we are in talks with the University of Zimbabwe to come up with a module for our officers. As you are aware, white-collar crime is getting complicated, it’s getting sophisticated and yet our investigators are struggling behind.

We want to make sure that Zacc is ahead of the criminals by training our investigators in forensic accounting, financial intelligence and cyber-crimes so that once they go into the field and investigate, they know what they are looking for and how to get such information.

By Friday (last week), we are going to come up with a draft MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) and we hope that by the end of July, we should be ready to start the courses.

In terms of investigators, we don’t have the adequate numbers as we are currently riding on secondments from the police and other State institutions.

There is less than half of what we are looking for, thus we have 90; that’s in Harare.

Zacc is not well-resourced at all.

We have 19 teams of investigators sharing three vehicles.

When they investigate, a team is made up of three or four investigators, so we have 19 teams sharing three vehicles. These cars are all we have nationwide.

Therefore, I am very concerned about the lack of resources, but we are compiling a list of what we require and then approach the Office of the President and Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance.

Under my leadership, the esteemed office will be accommodating everyone.

We want to make sure that whistle-blowers are protected because we have had situations where they have lost jobs after reporting their superiors for corruption. Hence, we urgently require a piece of legislation to protect witnesses.

It’s a problem to invite whistle-blowers to testify in court right now without that piece of legislation because once they testify, they are out in the open.

They are open to abuse by their superiors.

So we will have exposed them.

Dockets

I will lead some changes at Zacc because our docket management system is in shambles as the commission is still using the manual system. If papers are lost we are doomed. This explains why there is urgent need for a computerised system.

We also need toll-free numbers where people can communicate freely. We need a website. I understand we have a website although not very active and not secure. Zacc is riding on a dot gov domain, which is not secure — anyone can access and destroy records.

The commission’s records should be very secure and independent, hence we will be improving in that regard. I am just waiting for the commissioners to be appointed so that we make decisions on those aspects. I can’t work on my own. I am waiting for other commissioners.

You struggle to find dockets, you really struggle. One can ask for a particular docket but officers will go in circles and in one instance, a docket was finally found at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). That’s undesirable. A docket management system should be done in a press of a button.

Independence

When it comes to the independence of the commission from political (sic) and the executive, I can safely say we are very independent. As a judge, I understand the meaning of independence and I will make sure that Zacc is wholly independent. It will not operate through influence; it will carry out its mandate independently.

We will assess what we have and make a decision. We will not allow ourselves to be influenced by outsiders because that amounts to harassment of citizens. Everyone is innocent before proven guilty and, therefore, even culprits deserve better treatment whilst going for trial.

Zacc will recognise the rights of the accused persons. There is no place for external pressures to compromise the independence of the commission.

Recently, Zacc was given arresting powers and this came as exciting news. Without arresting powers, our job was difficult as we were depending on police officers. When Zacc officers met the criminals, they could not arrest the suspects but to wait for police officers and while they waited, the criminals would just run away and never be found.

Thus, the arresting powers will make our job easier.

From the day I took office, Zacc has dealt with 10 high-profile cases and one docket (Zinara finance director Simon Taranhike) has been taken to the NPA for trial.

Under my leadership, I insist on investigating and arresting and not the other way round. It’s inappropriate to arrest to investigate; that is dangerous.

Investigations won’t stop because we are waiting for the appointment of other commissioners.

Zacc is an independent board but other far-reaching discussions will have to wait for the commissioners to come and map a way forward.

Some of the previous commissioners could have dragged the name of Zacc into disrepute because the commission was not functional.

My commission will be functional.

There is no room for corruption as any mishap will be dealt with severely. The new Zacc will not tolerate any corrupt officials.

We can’t fight corruption with corrupt officials. The commission has to ride on public confidence and I will do everything to bring back the confidence.

Once the public loses confidence in us, then our jobs are a nightmare.

In relation to my marriage with the Foreign Affairs Minister (Dr Sibusiso Moyo), I don’t know if you want me to divorce him, but let me say that I was appointed as a High Court Judge before he became a minister. Why didn’t you raise the issue of conflict (of interest) since I was already a High Court Judge.

My marriage and job are two different things.

I have been married to him for a long time.

I am not marrying him today that I should be influenced by him. He is not the one who has mandated me to lead Zacc.

My mandate is from the public and I am accountable to the public and not SB (Minister Moyo).

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