ZACC credibility in question after mysterious Joram Gumbo release:
HARARE – Former Transport Minister Joram Gumbo walked away unscathed on Tuesday after the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) dropped corruption charges against him in unclear circumstances, raising doubts over the independence of the anti-corruption organization.
Gumbo, who is now the minister responsible for overseeing policy implementation in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office, was arrested on Monday on corruption charges stemming from his tenure as transport minister when he allegedly caused 1 million dollars in a corrupt office lease deposited in a relative’s bank account.
ZACC had confirmed the arrest with spokesman John Makamure saying Gumbo “is charged with criminal abuse of power” and is expected to appear in court.
ZACC President Loice Matanda-Moyo reportedly confirmed the arrest to a local newspaper.
Circumstances were set to take a surprising turn on Tuesday when Gumbo briefly appeared in Harare Magistrates Court before being taken back to the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) ahead of his first court appearance.
His lawyer at the time, Selby Hwacha, told the Herald he did not know why Gumbo had been taken back to ZACC as he had already been charged.
“We have been called back to the ZACC headquarters and at the moment we don’t know why we are going back,” he said.
Hwacha was later to change his testimony and tell NewZimbabwe that Gumbo was never charged and ZACC just wanted to ask him a few questions.
“He’s already at home. He’s been fired. He hasn’t faced any criminal charges. ZACC was just investigating and we went to court in the morning, but we were sent back to ZACC for further questions before he is released,” Hwacha said in an apparent U-turn.
Meanwhile, ZACC President Matanda-Moyo did not respond to media questions on the matter on Tuesday.
A senior Zanu PF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Matanda-Moyo burned his fingers after arresting Gumbo without Mnangagwa’s knowledge.
“This is her intro to Zanu PF Politics 101. She made the mistake of stopping Gumbo without Number One knowing and underestimated the relationship between the two.
“Gumbo and Number One are very close and expect for him to be arrested is as absurd as expecting Owen Ncube (Secretary of State for Security) to be arrested,” he said.