Mphoko is the latest bigwig to be ensnared in Mnangagwa's crackdown

 Mphoko is the latest bigwig to be ensnared in Mnangagwa's crackdown
Published: 18 August 2019 (109 Views)
Zimbabwe's anti-graft watchdog has launched an investigation into former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, the latest "bigwig" to be ensnared in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's crackdown on corruption.

Since taking office in 2018, Mnangagwa has waged a war on graft, which he has pledged not to abate until he stops corruption that he said, in his words, "has a corrosive, negative and retrogressive impact on our society as it undermines trust in government, erodes citizens' ethical standards and gnaws away at society's moral fabric and the potential of our nation as a preferred investment destination."

Mphoko, a Zimbabwean politician, diplomat, businessman and former military commander who served as vice president from 2014 until 2017, is suspected of "criminal abuse of office," the powerful Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) said in a terse statement on Twitter yesterday.

"Yesterday (Friday) our officers visited the former VP Phelekezela Mphoko at his residence. The officers intended to question him with a view to record a warned and cautioned statement. The matter relates to abuse of office whilst he was VP," Zacc said in the statement.

"It is sad that the former VP refused to collaborate with the enforcement officers and unfortunate that he and those around him believe that they are above the law."

The family of Mphoko, Zimbabwe's former ambassador to Russia, Botswana and South Africa, accused the Zacc officers of trespassing and ordered them to leave.

Mphoko's wife, Laurinda, is captured in a video fuming at the Zacc officers. Mphoko is heard telling the officers: "Ndoda, please phumani lapha. Hambani phandle. Outside my house please!"
He adds: "You're being used by other people."

A Zacc official tells Mphoko: "We're waiting for you Sir. If you're not coming, we'll have to take you Sir. We'll call for reinforcements."

The Zacc statement said: "As the chairperson @matandamoyo has reiterated time and again, no one is above the law. We will ensure that the long arm of the law visits him in a manner that he understands and that he answers for his actions ASAP."  
It was not possible for Daily News on Sunday to reach Mphoko for comment yesterday.

But Mphoko's lawyer Welshman Ncube, who is also MDC vice president and is said to be in Tanzania to lobby the Sadc summit to put Zimbabwe on the agenda, told the Daily News on Sunday: "I am out of the country at the moment and not briefed on the matter."

Last month, Zimbabwe overhauled its graft fighting machinery with Statutory Instrument 143/2019, amending the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Designation of Peace Officers) (Amendment) Notice, 2019 (No. 3) Act, widening the newly-installed Loice Matanda-Moyo-led graft watchdog's power and putting its controversial arresting powers on a legal basis.

Analysts view the reforms as an institutionalisation of the fight on graft, embodying a shift in emphasis from rooting out financial graft and political enemies to enforcing instructions from the top leadership and punishing negligence.

The investigation into Mphoko is a "vivid embodiment" of the "overwhelming victory" in the campaign announced by Mnangagwa.


- dailynews

Tags: Mnangagwa,
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