Zimbabwe says asset forfeiture is a better and cheaper way to end corruption than prosecution


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Q &A:

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  On behalf of the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption(APNAC), we are concerned that perhaps you would need to explain to us what is happening with the issues that have to do with either convictions or asset forfeiture, given that we have seen a lot of high profile arrests and yet we have not seen anything that has come out of it and the public and ourselves are beginning to doubt the seriousness and the political will that Government has on the fight against corruption.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to start by assuring the Hon. Member that as a Government, we are committed to the fight against corruption.

Secondly, indeed high profile arrests have happened but what we also have to appreciate is, an arrest does not mean the person is guilty.  There are due legal processes that have to be allowed until a verdict of guilty is reached.  What we also have to appreciate is those that are termed ‘high profile’ are people with means that can use every available legal recourse at their disposal.  So we would find that in most of the high profile cases, several court applications are made by the accused and that is legal because those processes are allowed.  We have also noticed that there is need of close working relationships between the arresting details and the prosecution so that we do not have premature arrests that will lead to prolonged cases whereby there will now be need for further investigations in order to conclude the cases.

Most of the time we have had the accused on remand for a long time because of the need to ensure that they gather the necessary evidence and that is now happening whereby the prosecution and the arresting details are now working together.  Once the paperwork is complete then they, can move for arrest.

Secondly, what we found out worldwide is that it is very difficult to prosecute a corruption case and also very expensive.  I am glad that this House also passed an amendment to the Anti-money Laundering law so that we have a provision for assert forfeiture.  This is an easy route to follow where the onus is on the person to prove where they got the wealth from and if they fail, then those asserts are forfeited to the State.  So now we are going to use several avenues to ensure that we deal with corruption cases but indeed corruption cases are not very easy to prosecute as they involve people with means and those people will use every available legal process to ensure that they stall the process.  I thank you.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Hon. Minister, perhaps you could indicate whether there is no possibility of beginning to …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Member, please address the Chair so that there is no duel between yourself and the Hon. Minister.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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