'Zacc won't spare high-profile personalities'

'Zacc won't spare high-profile personalities'
Published: 19 July 2019 (141 Views)
THE appointment of Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Za-cc) chairperson in May sparked controversy and raised the spectre of patronage that has plagued the country for the past 39 years.

Matanda-Moyo , the wife of Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, has been labelled a beneficiary of her husband's powerful political stature and close relationship with President Emmerson Mnangagwa. But Matanda-Moyo, a respected judge in her own right, insists she will deal with corruption without fear or favour.

Zimbabwe Independent political reporter Nyasha Chingono (NC) had a chat with Matanda-Moyo (LMM) about her mandate and her vision for Zacc.

Below are the excerpts of the interview:

NC: Kindly take us through the mandate and vision of Zacc.
LMM: The mandate of the commission is to combat corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of duty and other improprieties in the conduct of affairs in both the public and private sectors. This mandate is achieved through three key pillars, which are: Investigations, prevention, as well as public education and publicity.

I'm also mandated to make recommendations to the government and to organisations in the private sector on measures to enhance integrity and accountability and how to prevent improprieties, to investigate and expose cases of corruption in the public and private sectors; to promote honesty, financial discipline, and transparency in the public and private sectors. My office is also mandated to receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate.

NC: There have been accusations in the past that Zacc commissioners were pursuing political factional agendas. What is your comment on this?
LMM: My commission will not be used to pursue political agendas. I assure the members of the public that the commission will discharge its functions without fear or favour.

NC: Please explain Zacc's arresting powers. How will the commission administer its mandate in cases where high-profile personalities in the executive or judiciary are implicated?
LMM: The Extraordinary Government Gazette published Statutory Instrument (SI) 143 of 2019. In terms of Section 2 (paragraph h) of the SI, the definition of peace officer under the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07) now includes Zacc officers. This SI gives Zacc officers an array of powers among others search, seizure and arrest. Zacc will administer its mandate without fear or favour. This means if there are any cases involving high-profile persons, Zacc will conduct such investigations and arrest of persons accused. Zacc has already commenced investigations of some high-profile persons in the executive.

NC: How professional are Zacc investigators? Who is part of this critical board of investigators?
LMM: Zacc investigators are very professional and skilled. We are advised that the names of possible nominees have been submitted to His Excellency (the President) for appointment.

NC: We understand that you are in possession of the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) audit report. What are you going to do with it?
LMM: We are currently studying the Nssa audit report. There is no legal requirement on Zacc to make the report public. However, the report will be used as part of evidence during court proceedings. As soon as we complete analysing the Nssa report, we will take the proper action and ensure that justice prevails. Every person implicated in the report will be investigated and, where evidence of an offence is established, the perpetrators will be brought to book.

NC: The Auditor-General's recently released 2018 reports exposing government rot in parastatals, government departments and local authorities. How are you planning to act on the recommendations made by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri?
LMM: Zacc has opened active investigations in respect of all ministries, government departments, state enterprises and parastatals implicated in the report, with a view to bringing to book all those implicated in any and all acts of corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improper conduct.

NC: Do you think there is political will to fight corruption in the current dispensation?
LMM: Yes, there is political will and commitment to fight corruption. The government has recently given Zacc arresting powers; the government is also amending the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act to include Unexplained Wealth orders, which will make recoveries of ill-gotten wealth much easier. The government is also in the process of crafting legislation that protects whistle blowers and witnesses of corruption cases. The government has also introduced an array of legislation and policies to ensure discipline in the public institutions.

NC: Despite your qualifications and track record, some have questioned your appointment because you are married to a former top military commander who is now a government minister. Is your appointment in any way linked to your relationship with Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo?
LMM: No.

NC: In light of the above connection, how impartial are you?
LMM: As a judge of the High Court, I have been guided by the principles of integrity, fairness, impartiality and professionalism. I do hope that Zimbabweans will start realising that I am my own person. Therefore, I plead with the nation to judge me personally. I have earned whatever position I held in the past and the position I am holding now is on the basis of merit and integrity. In addition, there are going to be nine commissioners inclusive of myself running Zacc. The commissioners joining me are also well-respected members of the society. Zacc will not be run by an individual, but by commissioners.

NC: We have had Zacc chairpersons before. What are you going to do differently?
LMM: There will be no room for corruption by Zacc officials and any allegations of corruption will be dealt with severely. Zacc will prioritise asset recovery and arrest of high-profile persons who are abusing their authority.

NC: There is a general perception that Zacc is used as a weapon for settling personal or political scores. How is your team looking to maintain impartiality?
LMM: Zacc commissioners and officers will execute their duties diligently without any favour.

NC: Does Zacc have the necessary budgetary support to deal with corruption?
LMM: We receive funding from the Consolidated Revenue Fund through Treasury. However, the need for additional resources cannot be overstated.

NC: Zacc officials have been driven by party politics in the past. How do you endeavour to do things differently?
LMM: Zacc officials will not be driven by politics. If this was happening before, it is a thing of the past. Zacc shall endeavour to be apolitical in executing its mandate. This is the sole reason why we are conducting awareness campaigns to educate members of the public and engaging with the media on the need not to politicise Zacc. Corruption affects everyone irrespective of their political affiliation. The nation should stand up in unison against corruption.

- the independent

Tags: ZACC, Matanda, Moyo,
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