Zimbabwe’s Bold Strike: $130M in Corrupt Assets Seized

ZACC's Historic Victory Against Corruption Rings Hope

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In the heart of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe’s Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) has achieved a historic milestone in its relentless fight against corruption. Since its overhaul in 2018, the commission, once criticized for inefficiency, has seized properties exceeding US$130 million, marking a turning point in the country’s battle against illegal wealth accumulation.

At the forefront of this groundbreaking achievement is ZACC’s executive secretary, Sukai Tongogara. Her leadership has ushered in an era of decisive action against corruption. Under her guidance, the commission has successfully sent 32 cases to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for actions involving unexplained wealth orders and civil forfeitures. This bold move has led to the recovery of assets totaling over US$136 million, a staggering amount that underscores the extent of corruption the country has been grappling with.

Among these cases, a high-profile victory stands out—the case against the former CEO of ZINARA. In a landmark decision by the high court, ZACC secured an order to seize properties and assets identified as proceeds of crime, including a significant stake in an insurance company. This case exemplifies the commission’s renewed vigor in bringing corrupt officials to justice.

The journey to this point has not been without challenges. ZACC faced criticism over its approach to handling graft cases, with detractors accusing it of being lenient on offenders. However, the commission has worked tirelessly to change this narrative, proving its critics wrong through its recent actions.

In a collaborative effort with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), ZACC undertook a massive operation targeting the abuse of tax rebates by civil servants importing vehicles. This operation, conducted in 2023, scrutinized over 3,000 vehicles to ensure their lawful importation. The outcome was significant, with 252 vehicles seized for further investigation and several arrests made, leading to ongoing court cases.

The commission’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2023, ZACC referred 264 cases to the NPA, a 97% increase from the previous year. These cases resulted in 297 arrests, with a notable predominance of male offenders. ZACC’s effectiveness is further highlighted by its impressive conviction rate of 71% for cases tried in both magistrates’ courts and high courts.

This narrative of transformation and resilience is not just about the numbers. It’s a story of a nation reclaiming its resources and integrity. The seized assets represent more than just financial value; they symbolize the return of wealth to its rightful owners—the people of Zimbabwe. Each case, each arrest, and each conviction are steps towards restoring public trust in governmental institutions.

The journey of the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission is a testament to the power of dedicated leadership and relentless pursuit of justice. As Sukai Tongogara continues to lead the commission, the future looks promising. The commission’s actions send a clear message to corrupt individuals—the era of impunity is over, and justice will prevail.

As Zimbabwe continues on this path, the impact of ZACC’s actions resonates beyond its borders, offering a beacon of hope to other nations grappling with the menace of corruption. The story of ZACC is one of courage, determination, and unwavering commitment to integrity, serving as an inspiring example for anti-corruption efforts worldwide.

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