VICE president Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared that the law should take its course on the ZIMDEF scandal involving Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
Mnangagwa, allegedly leads the Lacoste Zanu PF faction which Moyo believes to be behind the revelation of the scandal, said Wednesday that only the State President enjoys immunity from the arrest.
Mnangagwa was responding to questions raised in Parliament by Prosper Mutseyami and Nelson Chamisa, MDC legislators for Musikavanhu and Kuwadzana constituency respectively who queried excessive interference by the executive in corruption cases.
The questions were specifically targeted at Vice president Phelekezela Mphoko who has, on two occasions, stopped the incarceration of corruption suspects.
In the latest case which has sparked a public outcry, Mphoko stopped the arrest and sprang to the defence of Moyo who was being investigated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for reportedly misappropriating more than $400,000 from ZIMDEF coffers.
“As our vice president and leader of this house the ZIMDEF money wasn’t properly handled resulting in ZACC wanting to arrest the implicated minister honourable Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa,” said Mutseyami to the applause of legislators.
“ZACC was stopped by vice president honourable Mphoko. So will their power work when someone can call them to say ‘this one arrest, this one don’t; he is a brother and that one is a nephew’.
“He was even on state media declaring that his arrest would destabilize government. Who destabilizes between a minister who steals public funds and the person who arrests a thief in the name of a minister?”
Mnangagwa said Parliament has the power to amend or make laws that can result in the elimination of high level corruption.
“Corruption is eliminated by laws made by this house. If people in this house feel the existing laws are weak, the can strengthen or add some,” he said adding, “If the legislators in this house see an open window which needs to be fixed they should do so.”
After a supplementary question by Chamisa who pressed for an answer, Mnangagwa said ZACC and relevant authorities have the power to arrest Moyo and his accomplices just like any other citizen.
“The legislator should know that only the President enjoys immunity against prosecution of whatever crime, every other person is under the law.
“If the legislator knows something done outside the law, he should pursue the issue with the relevant authorities for redress),” Mnangagwa said to cheers from MPs.
Unsatisfied, Chamisa also queried the recent decision by Mphoko to go in person to Avondale police station in Harare where he demanded the release of two executives implicated in fraud allegations at national roads agency, Zinara.
“Is there any prospects that under those circumstances (of repeated interference) that law enforcement agents will play their role properly when they know the executive hierarchy including the VP can simply go and stop the actions that could have been taken?” he asked.
Mnangagwa ended the exchanges by reiterating that citizens against such interferences by those in positions of authority should challenge these practices via legal routes.