By Thandiwe Garusa
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has upped the ante in his bid to fight rampaging corruption, pushing through changes to the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act in order to flush out individuals who suddenly flaunt wealth.
The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill now before Parliament will have a new clause giving power to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and police power to demand explanation from people regarding suspicious wealth.
With the opposition constantly calling for protests and Mnangagwa accusing Western embassies of funding terror activities in the country, the Bill also seems to be a counter measure by the Zanu PF leader.
“In order to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and corruption, it has become necessary to give powers to Zacc, Zimra and ZRP to elicit explanations from persons who exhibit great wealth without having any apparent lawful means of obtaining such wealth.
“Accordingly a new part will be inserted in the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act providing for unexplained wealth orders issued by the High Court at the insistence of Zacc, Zimra or ZRP. These orders will require the addressee to explain his or her wealth and provide supporting documentation therefore,” part of the proposed Bill says.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development has been holding public hearings and on Monday heard that the Bill should be clear on how government officials including Cabinet Ministers are dealt with.
“The Bill should also speak to what will happen to the people who are in charge like for example the ministers who are reported if they themselves are caught on the other side of the law, the Bill should also speak to what happens specifically to the ones in authority,” said a Harare woman.
Another contributor said government should revive the whistleblower fund that was reportedly abused at Zimra.
“A person who reports a crime should get whistle blower allowance if the stolen goods are recovered, maybe ten percent or so of the recovered goods,” said a woman who identified herself as Fadzai.
The Bill will also give authorities power to forfeit the wealth if someone fails to explain it.