Former Ministers charged with graft
Publish date: 08 January 2018
Issue Number: 756
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Former Foreign Minister Walter Mzembi and ex-Energy Minister Samuel Undenge have been charged with ‘criminal abuse of office’. A report on the EWN site notes that they both deny wrongdoing. Undenge is accused of issuing a $12 650 contract to a company without a tender. The suspects were granted bail and ordered to surrender their passports. Their cases will be heard on 22 January. The charges ‘are ridiculous’, Job Sikhala, Mzembi’s lawyer, told reporters outside the court. Undenge’s lawyer Alex Muchadehama described the case against his client as a ‘circus’. In a separate matter, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Supa Mandiwanzira is facing corruption claims over alleged irregular board appointments at state-owned mobile firm NetOne. In addition, he is being probed for the alleged transfer of the company's accounts to a bank with links to some board members as well as the potential abuse of a fund by the country’s telecom industry regulator under his watch. Reward Kangai, a former CEO of NetOne, has raised these allegations in a letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. A report on the Fin24 site notes that Mandiwanzira has denied the allegations, saying ‘no amount of fake documents from him will change the facts’. However, it seems Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general Ray Goba is keen to for the allegations to be probed. A second report on the Fin24 site notes that the clampdown is in line with Mnangagwa’s pledge to deal with corruption, which he has described as a hindrance to the country's economic development. Critics have, however, questioned the impartiality of the anti-corruption drive, saying it appears only those opposed to Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power are being brought to book.
And Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri has ordered an audit of former President Robert Mugabe's ‘multiple farms’, with a view to redistributing all but one. NewsDay reports that the move is in line with the country’s one farm per family policy. The Mugabes apparently own at least 14 farms totalling about 16 000 hectares. Harare late last year issued an official notice listing Mugabe's benefits after he was forced to resign. These include first class air travel for four foreign trips a year.
Meanwhile, Mugabe's sons – Robert Mugabe Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga – are being investigated for illegal gold trading. Quoting unnamed sources, the Zimbabwe Independent reports that the Anti-Corruption Commission ‘is probing with the intention to arrest’ the two brothers, along with several other former high-ranking government and ruling party officials. A report on the News24 site notes that Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe’s son by a first marriage, is being investigated on similar allegations. It is not clear whether the three are currently in Zimbabwe.