By Costa Nkomo
ZIMBABWE Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo recused herself from heading a team that arrested Marry Chiwenga, the wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, to avoid conflict of interest as she knew the warring couple personally.
Marry Mubaiwa was arrested by ZACC officials last December on charges of attempting to murder her husband at a private hospital in South Africa where he was receiving treatment.
She was also arrested on separate charges of money laundering, externalisation and forgery.
The ex-model later spent three weeks in remand prison before being freed on bail earlier this month.
VP Chiwenga and the State are the complainants in the matters.
Speaking on NewZimbabwe.com’s Agenda programme Wednesday, Justice Matanda-Moyo said her long standing relationship with the Chiwengas had made her unfit to carry out independent investigations. The arrest was then headed by Deputy Chairperson Kuziva Murapa.
The ZACC boss is married to Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, who has had a close long working relationship with Chiwenga, dating back to their days at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Matanda-Moyo is a former High Court judge.
Chiwenga was the defence forces commander and Moyo was a brigadier-general when the two masterminded the shock military coup that removed the now late former President Robert Mugabe from power in November 2017.
Moyo became the face of the coup when he appeared on national television, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) announcing the house of arrest of Mugabe.
“I recused myself from dealing with the matter as both parties are known to me personally,” said the ZACC boss.
“As you know, my husband has been in the military for a long time. He has worked under General Chiwenga and we have been associating with General Chiwenga and Marry Mubaiwa for a long time.
“So when the matter was reported to ZACC by the Vice President, I was not part of it. But generally, what I want to say is that ZACC does not involve itself in domestic matters. ZACC will only pursue corruption allegations,” she said.
The Vice President has been accused of using his political muscle to influence the arrest of his wife in a domestic matter.
The ZACC chairperson said she would also not have ZACC investigate her husband if reported for corruption but would instead let the police handle the case for “transparency”.
“I will recuse myself obviously from investigating my husband. ZACC is not the only commission authorised to investigate corruption. The police also have a section within itself. So if any person wants to report my husband for corruption, I will urge that person to make a report to the police and not to ZACC for transparency,” she said.
Matanda-Moyo has been ZACC chairperson for nine months now and several high profile people have been arrested since then.
They include former Public Service Minister Priscah Mupfumira; former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) chief executive, Frank Chitukutu; Zimbabwe Defence Forces director of procurement Peter Muchakadzi and several senior government and parastatal officials for theft or fraud.
Mupfumira is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office involving US$95 million.
However, most of the suspects have since been granted bail at the courts.
There was an uproar last year when Matanda-Moyo was appointed as the main opposition party, the MDC raised concerns of partiality since her husband is a Cabinet minister and former army general, who played a prominent role in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rise to power.
The MDC argued her appointment would compromise the credibility of ZACC.