July 25, 2019 / 10:31 AM / a month ago

Zimbabwe tourism minister detained by new anti-corruption agency

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira has been detained for questioning by a newly formed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), it said on Thursday.

Mupfumira is the first senior government official to be detained by the commission which was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwe on July 15 after he promised tough action against graft.

Transparency International says corruption costs Zimbabwe’s economy at least $1 billion annually.

“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. It did not give any details.

Mupfumira, a senior member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, was previously labor minister who oversaw the $1 billion state pension fund. ZACC has said an audit report into the fund implicated several high profile officials for abuse of funds.

Mupfumira did not respond to calls for a comment.

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 November 2017 coup against former leader Robert Mugabe.

Matanda-Moyo has promised to tackle corruption without fear of favor.

Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Raissa Kasolowsky

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