HARARE — Former Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe could soon be arrested over an array of corruption-related allegations as woes mount for the ex-Zanu PF women’s league boss.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption commissioner responsible for investigations, Goodson Nguni yesterday told The Standard that the anti-graft body was already probing Grace over the suspicious awarding of a doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe after enrolling at the institution for barely three months.
He said indications were that certain officials at the institution could also find themselves in trouble together with the former first lady for fraud or misrepresentation.
“Yes, we have received a report from the lectures from the Sociology Department on how she got her doctorate and because that is a legitimate complaint, there are investigators looking at it,” Nguni said.
Since the ouster of Robert Mugabe in November, Grace has been holed up at her Blue Roof mansion in Borrowdale Brooke amid reports that authorities blocked her from travelling outside the country. Grace was reportedly only being allowed to travel to her Mazowe business empire, but under escort. Mugabe recently went to Singapore for medical check-up but did not travel with Grace.
Nguni said according to the laws of the country, no one except former president Mugabe was immune to prosecution.
He said everyone else, including the former first lady and the entire first family was fair game, if evidence of crime was presented.
“First of all, in terms of the law and Constitution, the president of Zimbabwe has got immunity from certain actions during his term of office and upon retirement,” he said.
“Now according to the Constitution, the rest of the first family do not have immunity from prosecution and we are going to follow the law. So if there is evidence that a member of the former first family killed somebody, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, because that’s outside of our mandate, will investigate and make an arrest.”
He added: “If there is an allegation against a member of the former first family, not the president, we will investigate that and take the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority. Remember we don’t take matters to the courts, it’s the National Prosecution Authority which does that.”
The Zimbawe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) boss said although Mugabe abhorred corruption, his wife was at the fore-front of shielding and protecting those accused of corruption. He gave an example of how former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo was allegedly defended against allegations of graft at rallies.
While Nguni refused to reveal other cases which Grace was being investigated for, officials at the anti-graft body said she faced arrest over the disappearance of diamonds in vaults when government ordered diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa to suddenly stop operating to pave way for the establishment of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company.
Also, her children, Robert, Chatunga and Russel Goreraza, according to insiders, face arrest for gold smuggling, murder, extortion among other crimes that are related to abuse of power and state machinery.
Meanwhile, the Zacc boss has exonerated ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira of any wrongdoing on charges of corruption raised by former NetOne chief executive officer, Reward Kangai.
“We received a complaint by one Reward Kangai against minister Mandiwanzira, but we also simultaneously received a report from NetOne against the same Kangai,” he said.
“We investigated the $4 million that Kangai alleged the minister had paid to Megawatt and we found out that there was no $4 million paid to anybody at Megawatt. We had a court order, raided NetOne offices and looked at their bank statements, went to check at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other banks. We established that no money was ever paid by NetOne that amounted to $4 million, so we disregarded that story.”
Nguni said instead Kangai and Harare businessman Agrippa Masiyakurima (Bopela) could soon be arrested.
“But NetOne complained against Reward Kangai in substantive cases of fraud and corruption in the awarding of tenders for base stations by a company called Bopela and we are on it. Very soon we will get to some action regarding that. So we are not covering up for any minister,” he said.