The investigations into the alleged abuse of over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) by Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo (pictured) has divided the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) amid allegations one of the commissioners is jeopardising the case by personalising it.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
President Robert Mugabe blocked Moyo’s arrest on October 6 after the minister alleged a faction linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was using Zacc to push its own agenda.
Mugabe set up a committee to investigate the independent constitutional body.
Moyo has singled out Zacc’s commissioner responsible for investigations, Goodson Nguni, as the Mnangagwa faction’s alleged point man.
According to sources, Nguni’s behaviour has also unsettled other Zacc commissioners and senior managers who feel that he is interfering with investigations, especially after he held a controversial press conference last week, where he attacked Moyo.
Nguni addressed the press conference “in his personal capacity” at the Zacc offices in Harare where he took aim at Moyo after other commissioners snubbed him.
Sources said some commissioners remained holed up in their offices as Nguni addressed journalists as they did not support the stance he has taken in the probe.
Nguni only appeared with Zacc’s public relations officer Phyllis Chikundura as other commissioners, including chairman Job Wabhira and commissioner in charge of the media Nanette Silukhuni stayed away.
A well-placed source said under normal circumstances, all Zacc commissioners had to endorse an investigation.
“Nguni informed some of the Zacc commissioners. They refused to be part of his press conference and he eventually claimed he held the meeting in his personal capacity,” a well-placed source said.
“Some of the commissioners remained in their offices while Nguni addressed the media, only to look for his statement after the press briefing to know what he said.”
Nguni and Wabhira were not picking calls, while Silukhuni said she was attending a church service. Yesterday Chikundura refused to comment on the matter.
But the sources insisted that Nguni should have used a private venue, not Zacc offices if the press briefing was personal.
They said he should also not have dragged Chikundura to the briefing.
Nguni, the source claimed, personally listed the journalists that were invited for the press briefing, although close to 20 later turned up.
“Most commissioners became uncomfortable to join in after the case had taken a factional angle,” the source said.
“Some of them are G40, while Nguni and others are Team Lacoste.
“It is true that Zanu PF factionalism has divided the commission and this is affecting its operations.”
Moyo last week said he was being persecuted on tribal and factional lines, threatening to expose others who he said had been protected because they were aligned to Mnangagwa.
“The problem at Zacc is that Nguni has reduced himself to an investigating officer. He is the one now calling the shots,” the source said.
“Nguni tells the investigators who to probe and goes to see some of the suspects personally.
“He has demoted the chief investigator Servious Kufandada to be the legal advisor and he is acting like the head of investigations, chief investigator and the investigator himself.”
Nguni has been ac accused of targeting perceived members of the G40 faction.
Before he became Zacc commissioner, Nguni once took the commission to court challenging its arresting powers.
He filed the case in the High Court when the commission was battling to get court orders to raid ministers Saviour Kasukuwere, Obert Mpofu and Nicholas Goche. Nguni later withdrew his court application.
Some Zanu PF officials particularly those who benefited from the Zimdef fund have expressed concern over alleged bias by Zacc.
Leading the campaign to disband Zacc is the Zanu PF youth and women’s leagues whose members feel the investigation is meant to discredit them ahead of an explosive Zanu PF national people’s conference in December.
In June, Zacc was accused by Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba of behaving like rattle snakes to disrupt government work when they wanted to probe fraud at the Information ministry and several other government departments.
The commission has since gone quite about the investigations.