Zimbabwe’s newly constituted anti-corruption commission on Tuesday nabbed former Principal Director Monitoring and Evaluation in the office of the President and Cabinet Douglas Tapfuma on allegations of engaging in corruption. Tapfuma is accused of importing illegally a fleet of vehicles purported to belong to the government.
According to state-owned daily the Herald, Mr Tapfuma misused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name and letters from the President’s office to import vehicles for himself, friends and relatives without paying duties. The paper further reported that the same letters were used to evade paying entrance fees to Zimbabwe National Road Administration, a parastatal responsible for the management, maintenance and development of national road network.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) head of investigations department Frank Muchengwa has confirmed the arrest noting that the accused will be arraigned in court today and charged with abuse of office. Tapfuma’s name also alleged to have appeared in USD$6.4 million scandals at Hwange Colliery, coal mining company.
“I can confirm that Douglas Tapfuma has been arrested and he is spending a night in police custody. He is accused of unlawfully importing several vehicles using the name of the state. He made people believe that he was importing vehicles on behalf of the State when the cars were his. He then brought in the vehicles without paying the duty,” reiterated Muchengwa.
Mr Tapfuma became the second state officer to be arrested over corruption as the purge on graft gains the momentum in the country since the overhaul of ZACC two weeks ago. On July 15 President Mnangagwa made important changes at the commission by appointing Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as the chair and eight other commissioners in a renewed fight against the menace. The commission was given the authority to arrest the suspects and arraigned them within 48 hours of their arrests as stipulated in Zimbabwe’s constitution.
Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Prisca Mupfumira became the first high ranking person in the country to be arrested for corruption charges since Mnangagwa took over the leadership of the state. She was arrested last week Thursday over the alleged loss of millions of dollars at the country’s pension fund when she was the minister of Social Welfare in Robert Mugabe’s government. She has been detained for 21 days pending investigations.
In his first state of nation address after assuming power following a de facto coup that ousted the former President Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa promised to crack down whip on corrupt individuals without mercy. He said, “Corruption remains the major source of some of the problems we face as a country and its retarding impact on national development cannot be overemphasized. Every individual linked to any graft case must be investigated and punished, in accordance with the dictates of our laws. My government will have no zero tolerance towards corruption,” he said.
By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27