HARARE – The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has admitted to the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) that it has no arresting powers under the Constitution.
In its heads of argument in a matter in which Zacc is being sued by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo — who is facing allegations of siphoning over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) — Zacc said indeed it does not have powers to arrest suspects but has police officers seconded to the organisation that have arresting powers, who include Munyaradzi Chacha, who was handling the minister’s fraud case.
Moyo’s application will be heard tomorrow before the full Con-Court bench comprising nine judges.
Moyo was briefly arrested by Zacc last year with a view to take him to court to answer to the charges, after he presented himself to the anti-corruption body.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku suspended Moyo’s arrest.
In the application, Moyo questioned the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.
He argued that Zacc does not have the power to arrest and detain suspects in terms of the Constitution.
Moyo further said that the prosecutor general does not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual.
In its heads of argument, Zacc admitted: “The second respondent (Zacc) has never averred that they have arresting powers. Section 13 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act spells out the powers of the second respondent.”
“It is clear from the Act that it does not expressly confer powers of arrest on the second respondent.
In addition, Section 255 of the Constitution confines the second respondent’s powers to receiving complaints, investigating, combating, exposing and directing the commissioner general to investigate cases of suspected corruption and referring matters to the National Prosecuting Authority.”
Zacc, however, argued that Moyo’s detention was lawful as it was within the parameters of the organisation’s investigating powers, adding that Chacha has arresting powers as a police officer.
“Thus, whilst on secondment, the first respondent (Chacha) ‘assists’ the second respondent by carrying out those duties that he would normally carry out in the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“Thus, he remains a police officer who is assisting the second respondent carry out those duties that the Anti-Corruption Commission Act has not empowered the second respondent to do,” Zacc said, praying for the dismissal of Moyo’s application on the basis that none of his rights were violated.
Moyo has denied committing any offence, arguing that the allegations are politically-motivated.
He accused Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting the allegations through Zacc.
Moyo is facing the allegations together with his deputy Godfrey Gandawa, who has also won a Con-Court referral.
Gandawa is also challenging Zacc’s powers to arrest and detain. He argued that his constitutional rights were infringed by the organisations’ failure to warn and caution him of the charges he faced.
He further argued that the prosecutor general acted unconstitutionally by recommending the commissioner general of police to arrest him, adding that a warrant of search and seizure issued by Zacc was unlawful.