Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
President Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption fight is set to get fresh impetus following the resignation of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairman Dr Job Whabira and his entire commission yesterday.
A new team is expected to be announced soon.
Dr Whabira and his team comprising Dr Nanette Silukhuni, Mr Goodson Nguni, Mrs Christine Fundira, Mr Denford Chirindo, Ms Cathy Muchechetere, Ms Farai Mashonganyika and Mr Boyana Ndou — have gone on leave pending finalisation of their terminal benefits.
They were appointed in February 2016 and pursued a number of high-profile cases, although only one case — that of former Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge — resulted in a conviction at the courts.
In a statement yesterday, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said the President had accepted the resignations.
“His Excellency the President extends his gratitude to Dr Whabira and the Commissioners for the sacrifice and efforts they had rendered to the country in working towards the elimination of the scourge of corruption which threatens to tear apart the very fabric and ethos of our society,” he said.
“His Excellency the President wishes all of them well in their new endeavours.”
Dr Sibanda said President Mnangagwa will soon appoint a new chairperson to head the anti-graft body.
“In the meantime, His Excellency the President will shortly appoint a new chairman in terms of Section 254 (1a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe…, and request for nominees from the committee on Standing Rules and Orders (SROC), in terms of Section 254 of the Constitution towards the appointment of the rest of the Commissioners,” he said.
The previous commission’s three-year tenure saw several high-profile people being arrested and brought before the courts.
Undenge was convicted of criminal abuse of office after he hand-picked a public relations company fronted by former Highfield West legislator Psychology Maziwisa and broadcaster Oscar Pambuka for the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) without going to tender.
Undenge has since appealed against both conviction and sentence.
He is out on bail pending appeal.
Maziwisa and Pambuka are also out on bail pending appeal following their conviction.
They were sentenced to three and half years in jail for duping ZPC of over $12 000.
Other high-profile figures arrested for corruption under the stewardship of Dr Whabira include former Cabinet Ministers, Ignatius Chombo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Supa Mandiwanzira and Walter Chidhakwa.
University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura, former Mines and Mining Development Secretary Prof Francis Gudyanga, Zesa chief executive, Josh Chifamba were also arrested.
They are all facing similar charges of criminal abuse of office.
Also nabbed were businessmen Wicknell Chivayo and Genius Kadungure.
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma was arrested as well.
A new lease of life to the anti-graft campaign is in line with Government’s Transitional Stabilisation Plan (TSP), which is a vital cog in attaining the upper middle income economy status outlined by President Mnangagwa.
The TSP bluebrint targets eradication of corruption, which is a major source of leakages to public revenues, and also a major cost to various productive activities.
Prior to the New Dispensation of President Mnangagwa corruption had spread unchecked, negatively affecting the social and moral fabric of the nation, as rent seeking behaviour raised the cost of doing business, and posed hardships for the unconnected majority who constitute the generality of the public.