Mines Ministry Officials Arrested for Extortion, MP Implicated

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by Motoni Olodun


Two senior officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development have been arrested for allegedly extorting money from a mining company, while a ruling party lawmaker has been implicated in the scandal.

The deputy director of the Surveyor General’s Department, Gift Chinyemba, and the chief surveyor, Tichaona Makuza, were nabbed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Thursday, following a tip-off from the complainant.

According to ZACC spokesperson John Makamure, the two officials demanded US$10,000 from a mining company in exchange for approving its mining plans and issuing a certificate of inspection.

The company, which operates in Mashonaland Central province, reported the matter to ZACC, which then set up a trap to catch the culprits.

Makamure said the two officials were arrested after they received US$5,000 as part payment from the company’s representative at a hotel in Harare.

He said the officials also implicated a member of parliament from the ruling ZANU-PF party, who allegedly facilitated the deal and was supposed to receive a share of the bribe.

The MP, whose name has not been disclosed, is expected to be summoned by ZACC for questioning.

Makamure said the two officials will appear in court soon to face charges of criminal abuse of office and extortion.

He said ZACC was determined to root out corruption in the mining sector, which is one of the main sources of revenue for the country.

He urged the public to report any cases of corruption to ZACC, which has a toll-free hotline and a mobile application.

“We are serious about fighting corruption and we will not spare anyone who is involved in this vice. We appeal to the public to assist us by reporting any corrupt activities to us. We assure them that their information will be treated with confidentiality and that we will act swiftly,” he said.

Zimbabwe is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International, a global anti-corruption watchdog.

The country scored 24 out of 100 on the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories.

President Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017, has pledged to tackle corruption and has established several institutions, such as ZACC, to deal with the problem.

However, critics have accused him of selectively targeting his political opponents and protecting his allies, while failing to address the root causes of corruption, such as poor governance, weak institutions and lack of accountability.

They have also questioned the effectiveness and independence of ZACC, which has been accused of being used as a tool to settle political scores and of failing to secure convictions for high-profile cases.

Source: New Zimbabwe

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