Zimbabwe’s chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe says 36 cases of corruption have so far been brought before the courts as the government tries to curb the rot but only two have so far been finalized with one conviction that of former Energy Minister Samuel Undenge.
Though Undenge was jailed for an effective two and a half years, the amount involved was a paltry $12 650.
Guvamombe blamed the National Prosecuting Authority for the delays saying they were not always ready with the cases.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his new administration have vowed to end corruption which is a heavy drain on the country’s shaky economy.
“We would like a situation where these cases are finalised expeditiously, but we appear to be having problems with the National Prosecuting Authority who are not always ready with the cases so that they present the evidence at once and courts are able to finalise them quickly,” Guvamombe told the Sunday Mail.
“Cases are taking too long to be ready for trial and the NPA has to do something about it.”
“To make sure that there is no interference, it is the sole responsibility of the senior regional magistrate to allocate magistrates the cases. The cases are allocated as they come.
“When cases are allocated to magistrates, they are only told the date and time they will preside over them, but they are not told what case it is and who the accused is. The accused likewise has no knowledge of who will preside over their case. The prosecutors also do not know the name of the magistrate until they come before him or her.”
Most of those who have so far been apprehended for crimes are former ministers in President Robert Mugabe’s government who were allegedly linked to the G40 faction.
Some of the ministers were arrested soon after the new government took over in November last year but are still to be tried.
Independent legislator Temba Mliswa last week said the government must also start prosecuting serving ministers instead of waiting for them to be kicked out.