Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said that he won’t be protecting any government officials accused of corruption, adding that those accused of graft must, however, be given a chance to answer for their crimes in a court of law, said reports on Friday.
Mugabe said this during the unveiling of a newly constructed primary school in Mashonaland Central.
Mugabe reportedly said that his government would not be protecting “thieves”.
The state broadcaster ZBC quoted the veteran leader as saying that government departments and individuals fingered in alleged corrupt practises – as reported in the media – will not be spared.
This came as Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo faced fraud allegations.
Widespread reports recently revealed that through his deputy Godfrey Gandawa, Moyo was able to take $85 000 from the taxpayer-funded Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) and used some of it to buy bicycles for his Tsholotsho constituency.
There was also a claim that (again through Gandawa) Moyo took out a personal loan of $24 000 from the fund last October.
Local newspapers claim that the pair had allegedly embezzled a combined amount of $400 000 from the taxpayer funded Zimdef.
Mugabe, however, said that those accused must be given a chance to answer for themselves in the courts.
According to the Herald newspaper, Mugabe was also quoted as saying that the law should take its course when there was enough evidence against those accused of corruption.
“We don’t want people to be accused of wrongdoing when they have not done so. We want people to be taken to court when there is a proper investigation and enough evidence. We want our people to defend themselves before the courts of law. If they have lawyers, let their lawyers defend them in the court.
“We don’t want our members to listen to the media and say we have read this in newspapers, so this one and that one must be arrested, or this one and that must be fired from the party. No, we don’t do that..,” NewsDay quoted Mugabe as saying.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) recently called on the country’s anti-graft agency to clampdown on all those found on the wrong side of the law regardless of their positions.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said that the Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission (ZACC) should be allowed to stick to its constitutional mandate without fear or favour.