By Leopold Munhende
TOURISM Minister Priscah Mupfumira is facing a litany of corruption charges based on criminal abuse of office during her tenure as Public Service Minister in 2017, her charge sheet reveals.
She is the first person to be arrested by the newly appointed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and first Cabinet Minister to be victim to the new anti-graft drive under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mupfumira was detained at Avondale Police Station overnight on Thursday and is expected in Court Friday morning. She stands accused of having siphoned over US$500 000 from Nssa for personal use and over US$40 million in ‘illegal’ investments she reportedly directed the State pension manager during her tenure as Public Service Minister.
According to the charge Sheet Mupfumira is accused of having verbally instructing then permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka to get a loan advance of US$90 000 for the purchase of her ministerial vehicle (Toyota Land Cruiser ADX-0878) with full knowledge that Nssa does not have that provision.
After purchasing the vehicle from Croco Motors, Mupfumira allegedly went on to accept another ministerial vehicle from government a Range Rover registration ADY-6878.
The charge sheet also alleges that Mupfumira received US$101 814,80 from Nssa’s corporate social responsibility budget and converted the sum to personal use detailed under “advances to parent ministry”.
Mupfumira is alleged to have ordered Nssa to inflate its budget to US$350 000 before claiming US$303 520 for personal and political interests in her constituency.
She is accused of having directed the advancement of US$62 250 000 worth of Treasury Bills in March 2017 as double cover to struggling MetBank which in turn misappropriated US$37 035 000 of it.
Another US$4 908 750 was lost to MetBank in June 2017 in an opaque housing scheme as a result of a directive alleged to have come from Mupfumira who demanded that the deal be signed within 48 hours.
Drawcard (Pvt) Ltd of Gweru also prejudiced Nssa of US$6 500 000 under similar circumstances.
The Nssa report that is said to contain massive details of corrupt activities by senior government officials has not been made public with Public Service Minister Sekai Nzenza refusing to tale it before Parliament despite numerous orders to do.
Nzenza claims she is still going through the report and will only table it once she is done.
Opposition lawmakers have demanded that she be charged with contempt.