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ZACC vows to recover ill-gotten wealth even after jail

Crime

ZACC vows to recover ill-gotten wealth even after jail

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THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which is targeting to recover US$50 million worth of assets believed to be proceeds of corruption, has said it will strip criminals of their ill-gotten wealth, whether they have served time or are in jail.

Already 35 cases that have been investigated have been sent to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for filing with the High Court.

Speaking at a capacity building workshop on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery in Harare yesterday, ZACC chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, said since the Asset Recovery Unit was introduced in 2019, a lot of progress has been made in investigating such cases.

“The importance of asset recovery in the fight against such crimes cannot be overemphasised. Criminals and their networks should not be left to enjoy the proceeds of crime while in prison or after serving their sentences.

“So far 35 cases have been investigated and sent to the National Prosecuting Authority for filing with the High Court.

“We have had one forfeiture of a house in Ruwa which has now been confirmed with the Supreme Court after the person had appealed to that court,” she said.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the graft-busters take asset recovery seriously as they believe that corruption is a cancer that impedes development.

“So far we have had about three properties frozen in South Africa, so to date those are the matters pending. Investigations are underway in other jurisdictions and we will be reporting as we go.

“If that message is sent out correctly that corruption does not pay, that will discourage many people from engaging in it,” she said.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said ZACC is also making frantic efforts to amend laws that hinder its operations.

“Together with the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Law, we have drafted a Bill which has already been submitted to the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister for consideration.

“I understand that it is receiving due attention so an amendment to the laws will be coming soon,” she said.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said criminals and their networks should not be left to enjoy the proceeds of crime while in prison or after serving their sentences.

She said over 40 high-profile cases whose investigations were completed are pending before the courts.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the workshop, which ends on Friday, was facilitated by the International Centre for Asset Recovery and will focus on financial investigations skills, asset tracking recovery, mutual legal assistance, and money laundering among others.

“Although Zimbabwe has adopted robust legislation, policies and institutional strategies prioritising asset recovery, it is imperative that we continuously enhance our skills to be able to move with the evolving pace of corruption.

“I am pleased to note that the training being conducted today is ample testimony of the operationalisation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, ZACC Strategy 2021- 2025, the Memoranda of Understandings, and the Consultancy Agreement.”

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the four institutions receiving training — NPA, Financial Intelligence Unit, Zimra and ZACC — are all players in the asset recovery value chain and that all recognised the importance of a well co-ordinated asset recovery approach.

She said the timing of the workshop could not be more opportune coming at a time when the region is witnessing a significant increase in crimes.

Such crimes, Justice Matanda-Moyo said, include high-level corruption, drug trafficking, illicit financial flows, wildlife crime, human trafficking, money laundering, smuggling of natural resources, and cybercrime.

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