Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko reportedly summoned commissioners from the national anti-graft body and tongue-lashed them for seeking to have his ally and Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, prosecuted for fraud.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson, Phyllis Chikundura, confirmed the meeting..
New reports by the private media indicate that Mphoko, currently acting in the absence of President Robert Mugabe and said to belong to the same ruling Zanu PF faction as Moyo, accused ZACC members of refusing to obey his orders.
Mphoko has already publicly damned ZACC, insisting that it cannot arrest Moyo without Mugabe’s blessings, but the commission remains unfazed. .
Like Moyo, he also accused the ZACC commissioners of pursuing a tribal and factionalist agenda apparently to benefit his counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who leads a rival Zanu PF camp that wants Mugabe out of power before the 2018 general elections.
Mphoko also accused ZACC of selective application of the law, as well as refusing to listen to his orders. It was a stormy meeting, with angry exchanges, including a clash after one commissioner called Mphoko ‘VP, to which Mphoko retorted ‘I am the Acting President”.
Mphoko reportedly started calling the commissioners one by one after ZACC investigators tried to arrest Moyo during a Zanu PF high-level meeting at which Mugabe was present last week.
Initially, the commissioners who are supposed to be independent of the executive, legislature and judiciary, refused to meet him but finally agreed.
The reportedly maintained that Moyo had a case to answer and produced evidence after which it was agreed that the matter must be referred to Mugabe.
Moyo is being accused of conniving in stealing close to $500,000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF), diverting some of the money to Zanu PF and his constituency.
He has acknowledged the fraud, but argues that he was doing it in order to help the needy.