NewsSouthern AfricaMugabe spokesperson frets over corruption probe


Posted on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 11:52

Mugabe spokesperson frets over corruption probe

By Janet Shoko

George Charamba, Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, has accused the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission of trying to foment discontent. Photo© STR/AP/SIPAZimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson has reacted angrily to reports that several government officials are being targeted in a high profile investigation on corrupt activities linked to flawed tenders and abuse of funds.

Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba accused the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) of trying to foment discontent in a country already weighed down by multiple crises ranging from a failed economy to a poisoned political environment.

One really wonders what the motive is

Charamba's outbursts followed reports by the State controlled media that ZACC had been granted search and seizure warrants targeting permanent secretaries and head of secretaries allegedly involved in various corrupt activities.

He claimed one of the investigators at the forefront of the corruption probe was an opposition activist. Charamba alleged the ZACC investigation was timed to coincide with the 2018 elections.

"After all the civil servant who played a lead role on these matters is a character government has problems with in the run up to the 2013 elections and one will find it very peculiar that his zest for weeding out corruption always comes a few years before an election," he said. "One really wonders what the motive is."

Charamba added: "For quite a while, there has been an attempt to find combustible subject matter which would ignite and burn this country and in the past two weeks we have seen a human effigy pretending to be (missing human rights activist) Itai Dzamara hoping it will be another Bouzizi to the Zimbabwean situation."

Mugabe has been accused of paying a lip service in fighting the corruption scourge, which has been blamed for Zimbabwe's economic demise.

ZACC is a statutory body but its work has been hamstrung by lack of funding. The government has also in the past been accused of frustrating the prosecution of high ranked officials that have been implicated in corrupt activities.

According to the Sunday Mail story, investigations by ZACC revealed multimillion dollar fraud by senior government officials, rampant disregard of tender procedures and parallel salary structures.

"The clampdown is real, and I can assure you that arrests will be made at once. We are not tolerating corruption, and we will deal with it seriously," paper the quoted an unnamed source saying.

However, Charamba said ZACC "cannot behave as if there are no systems in government unless they are impugning the government system" in a clear indication the authorities are no happy with the probe.

"I really wished they knew the kind of chaos they triggered in Government with the stories they planted through the national press," he said. 

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party welcomed the investigation but said it was sceptical about its success.

"It turns out that the Zanu PF regime has never been genuinely interested in firmly identifying, clamping down and ultimately, eliminating corruption," the party said in a statement.

"The Zanu PF regime has become insipidly corrupt; from the highest office in the land right down to the shop floor worker."

Mugabe has in the past admitted that some of his ministers are corrupt but rarely takes action against those implicated in cases involving graft.

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