Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga yesterday said the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) was frustrating efforts to extradite people facing criminal charges.
He said this when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade chaired by Makonde legislator Cde Kindness Paradza to contribute on the recently gazetted, International Treaties Bill.
Comm-Gen Matanga said ZRP had since engaged the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to pursue bilateral engagements to enable the repatriation of fugitives.
“I am actually making a comment on an application I am forwarding to the Ministry of Home Affairs and my Permanent Secretary here as a result of the ZRP failing to bring back people who would have committed offences in Zimbabwe,” Comm-Gen Matanga said.
“We are a member of Interpol and there is a facility where as a country we file red notices with Interpol to bring back offenders to the country. Of late there has been a development with Interpol where they suspect that the ZRP is laying some politically motivated allegations against an individual.
“Interpol has categorically said they will not help and where a person runs away from Zimbabwe and is given refugee status in a particular country, again Interpol will not assist.”
Comm-Gen Matanga said some individuals were using their connections to evade justice.
“On that, it is very clear now that if a politician commits an offence in Zimbabwe, depending on the individual or how much they are connected, (Interpol) will defend that person at all costs.
“Now my application through the ministry is to have bilateral arrangements maybe within the region with our neighbours so that we will be able as ZRP to bring back offenders,” he added.
Cde Paradza then quizzed Com-Gen Matanga whether such issues were not captured in the protocols of Interpol.
“Unfortunately, when you ask such questions to the Interpol you are not given full answers. As late as last week, I was in Chile attending an Interpol AGM and I think on certain individuals, I had submitted like three applications and again we are not getting positive answers,” he said.
“Unfortunately, as a senior police officer I don’t want to raise issues that I suspect there could be some foul play. That’s why at a local level we are trying to come up with this facility where the ministry will be able to assist the ZRP by putting in place mechanisms, for example, if someone commits a crime and goes to South Africa, bilaterally we should be able to bring back that person.
“We need now to sit down with our legal officers and AG’s Office and find ways to bring back that person without problems,” he said.
Although he did not mention names of some of the politicians that have escaped justice, the list could include former Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi who is is alleged to have stolen or illegally disposed of Government property worth $1,6 million.
Former Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his former deputy Godfrey Gandawa also fled the country after being accused of abusing Zimbabwe Manpower Development Funds.