Zimbabwe tourism minister detained for suspected corruption

(iStock)
(iStock)

Zimbabwe's tourism minister has been detained for questioning by a newly constituted anti-corruption commission. 

According to state-owned daily The Herald, Prisca Mupfumira was held on Thursday over the alleged disappearance of millions of dollars at the country's pension fund when she was social welfare minister.

She is the first senior government official to be held by the commission which was overhauled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on July 15.

"We can confirm that the minister of tourism is currently in our custody for questioning and possible due processes," the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) said in a brief statement on Thursday. It did not give any details.

According to Zimbabwean laws a suspect must appear in court within 48 hours after his or her arrest.

Mupfumira, a senior member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, was previously labour minister who oversaw the $1bn state pension fund. She was fired by ex-president Robert Mugabe weeks before a military-led coup that toppled him in November 2017. 

She was reappointed after Mugabe's overthrow and given a new portfolio. 

In an audit report in June, the ZACC has accused several high profile officials of abuse of funds, according to local media a total of $82m. The scandal has been labelled as the "National Social Security Authority Scandal".

The anti-corruption commission was given the power to arrest suspects, but critics question whether it will be effective.

The opposition cast doubt on Mnangagwa's decision to appoint High Court Judge Loice Matanda-Moyo as the commission's chair, alleging a potential conflict of interest because she is married to Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, the retired army general who announced the coup against Mugabe.  

Additional reporting by Chris Muronzi in Harare.

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