• ZACC to interview Chivhayo, Chimombe, Mpofu over corruption claims
  • Leaked audios and letters allege money laundering, abuse of office by the trio
  • Chivhayo accused of using political connections to secure lucrative govt contracts
  • ZACC faces criticism for lack of independence, raising concerns over probe's effectiveness

Harare- The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has announced that it will interview three prominent Zimbabwean businessmen - Wicknell Chivhayo, Mike Chimombe, and Moses Mpofu - regarding leaked audios and letters circulating on X (formerly Twitter) and WhatsApp. These materials allegedly contain evidence of money laundering and abuse of office.

The letters reportedly involve a contractual dispute between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and a South African-based company, REN-form. Scott Sakupwanya's company, Better Brands Security, was used to sign the deal with REN-form.

Chivhayo, Chimombe, and Mpofu are all known to have close ties with the government. Chivhayo, in particular, has been allegedly accused of using his connections to secure lucrative government contracts.

In recent memory, he was awarded the Starlink tender.

Chivayo has reportedly been providing high-end vehicles to ZANU-PF-aligned musicians, social media commentators, members of his own apostolic church, and other ZANU-PF-connected individuals.

The investigation by ZACC comes at a time when the anti-corruption body has faced criticism for its lack of independence from the political leadership.

ZACC reports directly to the Office of the President and is headed by a Chairperson appointed by the President.

This lack of independence makes ZACC less reliable for investigating individuals with connections to Top political elites, effectively turning it into a "toothless bulldog."

This raises concerns that the trio mentioned earlier may evade accountability.

In 2019, President Mnangagwa disbanded ZACC amid claims that it had become ineffective, with some commission members allegedly involved in corrupt activities themselves.

This history further undermines public confidence in ZACC's ability to properly investigate high-level corruption.

More broadly, Zimbabwe is estimated to lose a minimum of $1 billion annually due to corruption.

The 2023 Al Jazeera "Gold Mafia" documentary highlighted high-level corruption implicating political elites, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and prominent pro-government religious figures. However, these serious allegations appear to have gone properly unattended.

The documentary specifically exposed that Zimbabwe is losing a minimum of $200 million through corruption related to gold revenues. This demonstrates the massive scale of graft impacting the country's economy and public resources.

According to Transparency International's 2023 corruption survey, Zimbabwe was ranked 157 out of 180 countries and territories assessed. The country scored just 22 out of 100 on the corruption perception scale, where 0 indicates highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

This placed Zimbabwe firmly in the bottom quartile of countries, indicating very high levels of perceived corruption in the public sector. Notably, Zimbabwe's score and ranking showed little improvement from previous years, reflecting the persistent and deep-seated corruption challenges the country has grappled with.

The extremely low corruption perception score and poor global ranking further undermine confidence in the ability of bodies like ZACC to effectively investigate and address high-level graft, especially when it involves politically-connected individuals.

This data paints a concerning picture of the scale and entrenched nature of corruption in Zimbabwe, which appears to be impacting the country's economy, governance, and public trust. Meaningful anti-corruption reforms and independent oversight will likely be crucial for Zimbabwe to improve its corruption standing in the years ahead.

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