HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira was charged in court docket on Friday with corruption involving $95 million from the state pension fund after questioning by the newly shaped Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Fee (ZACC).
Mupfumira is the primary senior authorities official to be interrogated by the fee, which was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa final week after he promised powerful motion towards graft.
The prosecution laid out costs starting from alleged abuse of state pension fund cash to finance Mupfumira’s political campaigning to directing investments of as much as $62 million right into a financial institution towards the recommendation of the pension fund’s danger committee.
Mupfumira can also be accused of leaning on the pension fund to enter into property offers with the identical financial institution price $15.7 million.
The fees arose from Mupfumira’s tenure as labor minister between 2014 and 2018, when she oversaw the state pension fund.
“Whereas some quantities have been recognized, the place they went to, there are different quantities which the police and officers on the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Fee have failed to search out. She has managed to cover that cash very nicely,” prosecutor Michael Reza mentioned in court docket.
Transparency Worldwide says Zimbabwe loses $1 billion to corruption yearly.
Zimbabwe’s state pension fund, which has belongings exceeding $1 billion, has usually been focused for looting by politicians and public officers, none of whom have been prosecuted till now.
The auditor basic accomplished a forensic audit into the state pension fund in March. Opposition parliamentarians, who imagine the report particulars in depth fraud, have been pushing for it to be launched, however Labour Minister Sekai Nzenza says she is underneath no obligation to take action.
The brand new anti-graft physique has, nonetheless, mentioned the audit report varieties the premise of one among 200 corruption circumstances it’s at the moment pursuing.
Mupfumira will stay in custody, till a Justice of the Peace guidelines on Saturday on the prosecutors’ request to maintain her in custody for 21 days whereas additional investigations are carried out.
Elton Mangoma, an opposition official who was vitality minister in 2011 underneath a power-sharing authorities, was the final sitting minister to be arrested, on graft costs referring to a gasoline provide contract. He was later acquitted.
Reporting by Nelson Banya; Modifying by Kevin Liffey