The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is holding ten mansions and 22 luxury vehicles worth US$8 million it seized recently from high-profile figures who failed to account for their source of wealth.
ZACC’s head of legal department Commissioner Jessie Majome said the ill-gotten wealth will be forfeited to the State. She said:
We seized and are holding 22 high-value motor vehicles worth approximately US$2 million. Applications for civil forfeiture (separately from the criminal trial process) regarding the vehicles are pending at court.
We have a total of 10 high-value houses whose civil forfeiture we have had referred to court. The approximate value of the houses is US$6 million.
Majome said ZACC has already sent seven asset forfeiture applications to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for onward filing to the High Court in terms of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.
Of the seven cases, four are pending at the High Court and these include applications for properties belonging to former Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi, Gender Commission chair Margaret Sangarwe, Russel Mweye, a former staffer at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, and former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku.
Majome added that the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act was amended to permanently enable asset recovery notwithstanding a criminal conviction. She said:
We want the public to understand that the recovery of assets gained through corruption is not actually a fleeting operation — a ‘flash in the pan’.
The bad news for crooks and looters is that asset recovery is not something they can hide from until it passes.
It’s here to stay as a twin device to prosecution in order to make corrupt criminals accountable before the law by making them pay back the loot and not just go to jail then come out to enjoy their loot.