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The current corruption storm ripping President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu-PF apart intensified yesterday after the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) said it was stepping up its plans to prosecute under fire Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
Interestingly for political watchers, this came after Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa – who does not see eye to eye with Moyo – bluntly told his Cabinet colleagues in Parliament on Wednesday that they were not above the law and that they would be prosecuted if there were reasonable grounds to suspect that they had committed crimes.
At the same time, Zacc also made damning allegations against some of the country’s top journalists yesterday, claiming that they were recipients and beneficiaries of unexplained large sums of money from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), which is at the centre of the current graft storm.
Addressing the media at the commission’s headquarters, Zacc investigations committee chairperson Goodson Nguni said Moyo was not off the hook.
“We have sent a letter to him and expect him to respond to us immediately by coming to our offices. He should come here so that he responds to our allegations. We are not going to go to his offices or house.
“He had promised that he was going to come to our offices so that we could put the allegations to him and hear his comments, but he has been running away from us, preferring to give interviews to the media,” the tough-talking Nguni said.
Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa are facing serious fraud, money laundering and criminal abuse of office charges, including claims that the Zanu-PF politburo member benefited from Zimdef donations that involved the purchase of bicycles which he donated to his Tsholotsho North constituency -all of which Zacc alleges was not done above board.
The ensuing graft storm has not only exposed Zanu-PF’s nasty tribal, factional and succession fissures, but also the former liberation movement’s gross abuse of State resources to advance its interests and those of its senior officials.
In his startling claims, Nguni said newsmen from both the State and private media had also dipped their hands into the Zimdef coffers, with Zacc discovering that one editor had his account credited with $2 500, while $50 000 was withdrawn ostensibly to give to journalists based in Bulawayo.
“We also went into Gandawa’s account. That’s where we discovered Zimdef money was put into Fuzzy Technologies account, then they transferred $120 000 to Gandawa’s personal account who then paid $70 000 towards a loan that he owed.
“The monies from Zimdef were used to pay for personal furniture, bicycles, tricycles and the payment of loans owed by persons who may be charged. Fuzzy Technologies is a company that is owned by Gandawa. We have the bank statements, so I know who they paid and did not pay,” Nguni said.
Moyo, who is said to be a key member of the Zanu-PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), has accused Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) and key players at Zacc of waging a factionally-driven war against him. Speaking publicly for the first time about the corruption and fraud charges that are being levelled against him, and which could see him arrested, Moyo insisted in an interview with the Daily News at the weekend that everything he had done was kosher.And in a thinly-disguised attack on Mnangagwa, whom he clearly believes is behind last week’s attempt by authorities to arrest him on the charges, Moyo also said he was “sick and tired of Gukurahundi politicians and their mouthpieces poking their dirty noses over what we can and cannot have in our communities as if we ever poke our noses into their communities”.
But Nguni said Zacc was not being selective in discharging its duties, dismissing outright the allegations that it was taking instructions from Mnangagwa.
“I urge the minister (Moyo) not to insult the commissioners of the commission by alleging that they don’t have brains, that eight of them, highly skilled people, experienced administrators can be held by me. I don’t have that authority to order anything against anybody.
“I want to let you know that we have never received a complaint about a minister from another minister or from a government official. The information that we have here came from a whistle-blower who identified himself and said ‘I am a director of a company that was given $95 800 by Zimdef but we are an agro-chemicals company and we don’t understand why that money came into our account’.
“That is how we started this investigation. There is no factional politics here,” he added.
On Wednesday, Mnangagwa told Parliament that Zacc was empowered to fight corruption and that no one was above the law – in remarks that were widely interpreted to have been made with the Moyo case in mind.
“There is no other means to fight corruption except the laws of this country. We do have an Anti-Corruption Commission which is a product of this House and they were empowered to fight corruption.
“What the Honourable Member (MP) should bear in mind is that … no one has immunity except the president. Everyone else in this country is fair game. They are not above the law. There is no one who is above the law,” Mnangagwa said, while responding to questions regarding the Zimdef scandal.
In a statement also on Wednesday, former vice president and now Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, called for the immediate suspension of Moyo and Gandawa in the wake of the damaging corruption scandal that is devouring Zanu-PF .
“The time is now that Mugabe should deal with the Zimdef issue decisively,” Mujuru said.
The MDC which has thrown its weight behind Zacc, has also urged the statutory graft body to investigate all corruption claims in the country without fear or favour.
“We call upon both Zacc and the ZRP to immediately arrest Moyo, Godfrey Gandawa and all other public officials who have been implicated on very reasonable and tangible grounds, in the criminal offence of stealing and defrauding the State of its money and other public resources.
“All these people should have their day in court. At the very least, this is the very essence of the rule of law. It is apparent that the thieving of public resources has always been the Zanu-PF way of running matters of State,” said MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu.
Source – dailynews