Last night news broke that the flamboyant MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya and other alleged accomplices who work at Cottco had been arrested on corruption and money-laundering charges involving US$5 million. The startling news was revealed in a brief and terse Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission notice that did not shed much light on the charges he and the suspended top managers of Cottoco are facing.
This is what the ZACC notice had to say about the arrest:
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator justice Mayor Wadyajena, Cottoco officials Pius Manamike, Maxmore Njanji and Fortunate Molai, and Pierpont Moncroix Director Chiedza Danha on fruad charges involving USD$5 million.
The accused persons are expected in court tomorrow.
More details to follow.
Issued by ZACCThe notice from ZACC
The exact nature of the charge and the evidence against the MP has not been revealed as yet but his co-accused were arrested at the end of June facing charges of concealing a close party transaction. Apparently, they awarded transporting contracts (tenders) to their own transporting companies and profited massively due to this fact. That is called tenderprenuership in Zimbabwe and South Africa and while it is a crime it is one that often goes unpunished thanks to the powerful bigwigs.
The catch part is done will they be convicted?
If you somehow missed my sceptical tone in the above paragraph let me make it clear. Even though we have not yet seen the evidence against the MP and his co-accused so far what the suspended Cottoco leadership is being accused of is the sort of corruption we have come to sort of expecting wherever parastatals are involved. I could go as far as to argue that this is not even seen as real corruption anymore by many members of the public.
On the other hand, ZACC has gained a reputation for being underwhelming when it comes to high-level corruption. They have a tendency to arrest cases that eventually just explode or crumple once they reach the courts. We have had cases where there was so much public well-being at stake and seeming mountains of evidence just fizzle in courts.
The cases of former health minister Obadiah Moyo, former housing minister Ignatius Chombo, Henrieta Rushwaya, and Wicknel Chivayo among countless others do not exactly inspire much confidence. There are already tell-tale signs this will not go as planned. The ZACC notice on the arrest of the MP is ominously missing a name at the bottom as is common practice so it appears it was anonymously issued on behalf of ZACC.
You can expect the prosecutor to generously agree to bail as soon as the MP appears in court a courtesy they often deny to the common man with far less evidence. Even if in the unlikely case that bail is denied it will eventually be granted if past events are anything to go by. Then the headlines turn elsewhere before the case just dies from anaemic prosecution.