THE arrest and subsequent release of Masvingo provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira on alleged corruption charges on Monday exposed the on-going chaotic nature of operations between the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Zim Morning Post can report.
On Monday Chadzamira was picked up by Zacc on allegations of corruption involving sugarcane plots at Kilimanjaro in Chiredzi.
Zacc recorded a warned and cautioned statement but had to immediately release Chadzamira.
In a statement Zacc confirmed that Chadzamira was under corruption probe “and the matter is still under investigations, which are nearing completion especially after receiving further instructions from the National Prosecuting Authority.”
Many questioned the nature of instruction which NPA made resulting in the immediate release of Chadzamira without going to court.
This comes as there has been pressure from Zacc to be granted prosecuting powers amid reports that in several high-profile cases NPA takes to court weak cases that end up dead in the water.
Zacc sources said the NPA official are alleged to be working in cahoots with the accused resulting in them being granted bail despite efforts made by the anti-graft body.
“People should not judge us based on what transpires at the courts,” said a Zacc source.
“As Zacc we investigate to prosecute and then NPA is left to do all the dockets so that the suspects are taken to court.
“What surprises many is that despite the charges that Zacc would have preferred on the suspects NPA takes to court weak cases which eventually flop,” the source said.
In an interview with the Zim Morning Post Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda Moyo, however, played down the issue saying the two bodies work hand in glove.
“We work well with the NPA. We have officers seconded here to help us with investigations and laying of charges so I do not see where your issue is?
“However, as a body we would love to have prosecutorial powers so that in the end the public can judge us on what we have control over,” she said.
While addressing stakeholders at a Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) Corruption Perceptions Index Results launch in Harare last year Matanda Moyo took a swipe at the catch and release syndrome by the NPA.
“On catch and release, we share the same concerns. As ZACC, we are also frustrated by the catch and release syndrome but let me assure you that we are working tirelessly together with the national prosecuting authority to find ways of ending this catch and release game,” she is reported to having said.
“The current Commission has been in office for less than 12 months but now I can assure you, we tried our best to rejuvenate and give clout to ZACC as an institution.
“As you know, our law currently is that the National Prosecuting Authority is the one which must take these matters to court, but we are again trying to rope in the Attorney General’s office to do that work so that we make progress in that area,” she said.
Ever since her appointment corruption related arrests involving top ranking Zanu PF and government officials are not going anywhere close to prosecution, let alone conviction and jail, igniting claims government bigwigs are interfering with court processes to protect their cronies.
Zimbabweans have seen the arrests of former Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira, former Health minister Obadiah Moyo, and several other top government officials who were dragged to court on corruption allegations but no conviction ever took place.