29 July 019
Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira was charged in court last week with corruption involving $95 million from the state pension fund. She was charged by the newly formed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). It is the first arrest by the re-constituted ZACC which is now chaired by Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo. Eight commissioners of the constitutional body were sworn-in last week by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He said during the ceremony that he had given the new commission “the necessary teeth” including the power of arrest.
Mupfumira is the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be arrested for graft under the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. She was accused of directing investments of up to $62 million into a bank account to finance her political campaign. She also used the pension fund to enter into property deals with the same bank worth $15.7 million. Mupfumira sobbed after the judge upheld an application by the State to detain her for 21 days on the grounds that she could use her position, as minister, to interfere with investigations.
Last month she was named as one of the most corrupt ministers in a name-and-shame campaign by Zanu PF youths.
The state pension fund has assets exceeding $1 billion which have been looted by politicians and public officials.
A number of theories have been put forward for the arrest of Mupfumira.
Mnangagwa’s plan to sacrifice Mupfumira may be to enable him to move against his other internal rivals within the party. Mupfumira’s arrest came at a time when Mnangagwa was conveniently away in Namibia.
A record of fraud, crime and general crookedness is not a hurdle to one’s political ambitions in the ruling Zanu PF party. Zanu PF youth league before it went public with a list of corrupt officials, they got the list cleared by the party’s chairperson Oppah Muchinguri.
Muchinguri might have wanted to elbow out all her female rivals including Mupfumira, Mabel Chinomona and Monica Mutsvangwa, who was also implicated in corruption by the youths through her children Elizabeth and Neville.
Another possibility is that Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, the retired general who famously announced the military takeover in November 2017 and put Mnangagwa in power, may have the ambition of succeeding Mnangagwa. He is one of Zanu PF’s rising stars. He has an ace up his sleeve, his High Court judge wife Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo who is the new chairperson of the ZACC which arrested Mupfumira in attempt to clear the field for her husband with targeted arrests. It is widely known that in the Zanu PF circles that Mupfumira was close to Mnangagwa. Eliminating her will be one step forward in isolating Mnangagwa.
ZimLive and the Standard reported.
Former Energy and Power Development Minister in Mugabe’s cabinet, Samuel Undenge was sentenced in July 2018 to an effective two-and-a-half years in prison for issuing a $12,650 contract without due tender. Besides he is also being sued by CBZ Bank Limited over a US$121 062 debt which he has failed to repay.
Mugabe’s former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and his alleged accomplice, Aaron Mushoriwa are accused of $1,6 million theft of trust property.