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


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HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker Sir, perhaps the Hon. Minister maybe able to indicate to the House whether we should not be thinking about putting certain timelines within our legal system almost the same as we have done with Electoral petitions.

We know that after an election, you have a specific period to which something comes to court and it is finalised so that at least these things can be finalised.  If it is not, the message that is being sent to the people of Zimbabwe generally is that you cannot be arrested for corruption and I think that is a bad way to start the fight against corruption.  I thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Our Constitution is very clear that an accused has to be brought to court and tried within reasonable time.  So I think that we will be putting in place a lot of regulations if we start doing that but what is needed is to ensure that we have a system that is efficient in so far as investigations are concerned so that we do not have delays once somebody is either arrested or indicted for trial.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My supplementary Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the Prosecutor-General according to Section 261 (a) and (b) talks about the independence and impartiality of the Prosecutor General.  How can we be assured as a nation if the Prosecutor-General himself has said that, ‘The State has been captured.’ and yet the Constitution is very clear that he must stand-alone independently and take no directive from anyone but he is being in the public domain saying that certainly the independence is not there, the impartiality is not there and because of that, him being the Prosecutor-General of the country has no faith in the system.

So how can the Hon. Minister convince this House that there is indeed faith in the system and that the Prosecutor-General is not telling the truth?  It is something that I had asked the Hon. Vice President when he was here but now that the Hon. Minister who is responsible for the Prosecutor-General is here, he could probably respond to those statements by the Prosecutor General.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The first thing that I want to say is that the Prosecutor-General never said that ‘the prosecution is captured’.  Secondly, the Prosecutor-General believes that he was quoted out of context.  Thirdly Hon. Speaker, if I am captured, it does not translate to the Prosecutor-General being captured.  As an individual, I am answerable for my own deeds, so if I do some misdemeanors, perhaps that is what the Prosecutor-General referred to but in conversation with him, he believes that he was misquoted and what was reported which is what the Hon. Member is quoting – he was misquoted because they did not take in context what he was saying.

I believe that there is a difference between the office of the Prosecutor-General and the State.  He prosecutes for the State so if he indicates that there is something that is happening; he is not speaking per se about his office.  I believe that our Prosecutor-General is very independent; our prosecutors apply their minds when they are doing their jobs without any due influence for anyone.  I thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
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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