PG spotlights bigwigs corruption

20 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
PG spotlights bigwigs corruption Mr Kumbirai Hodzi

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Prosecutor General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi has put a spotlight on bigwigs’ corruption — a development that is going to see prosecutors and magistrates being part of high-profile criminal investigations so that a solid case is built from gathering of evidence to trial so that there are few or less occurrences where cases are dismissed in court.

At the moment, police do the investigations before bringing a “completed docket” to the prosecutors before it is taken into court.

The prosecutors can either decline prosecution of the matter due to lack of evidence or allow the matter to proceed before a magistrate.

There has been an outcry from members of the public over the perceived “catch and release” of bigwigs while small time criminals are the ones who are sent to prison.

In an interview in Kwekwe on Monday, PG Hodzi, said bigwigs were becoming sophisticated in organised crime that is affecting the economy as evidenced by the surge in prices of goods and commodities.

“The impetus of the PG’s office has been to improve the justice delivery system. We have investigators such as Zacc, the police who have been investigating and bringing dockets to prosecutors.

But at the end of the day there has been a missing link where in mostly bigwig’s matters, there is always some vital evidence missing resulting in the State dropping charges against them. Then members of the public will cry foul accusing us of catch and release,” said Mr Hodzi.

“However, we have the new prosecuting guidelines where we want to have the prosecutor, magistrate, being part of the initial investigations into suspected illegal dealings of a big fish. They are doing it in Italy, in the USA, a prosecutor is there from investigations so that chances of convictions are very high.”

He said members of the public should know that the courts work with evidence and not on emotions or hearsay.

“We as the PG’s office are not and will not be magicians in the court of law. Prosecutors are not magicians; we need evidence and there is no need for panel beating of the evidence. We need scientific evidence to ensure convictions and that is what has been lacking in the high-profile cases.

There are a number of them which we can’t publish but evidence lacked because it was missing from the initial stages of investigations and that’s why the need to have the prosecutor, the magistrate or judge involved from the initial stages of investigations.

That way we have higher rates of convictions in the high-profile cases,” said Mr Hodzi.

He said there is a need for co-ordination of investigations by all investigators so that the high-profile cases have convictions.

“The investigators need to work together for one common goal, to end corruption which is bleeding the country of millions of dollars in potential foreign currency revenue. The police, Zacc, need to work together, there is need for coordination.

There have been cases where these arms arrested the witness and the accused and that kills cases,” he said.

The PG said he was happy that his office has been recording 99 percent conviction rate in courts.

“The other percentage involves these bigwigs but 99 percent conviction rate is what we are recording at the moment.

Cases especially of armed robbery, rape, murder are expeditiously being dealt with and that should bring confidence to members of the public,” he said.

Mr Hodzi said by November, there will be a major policy announcement in the PG’s office aimed at dealing with organised crimes as criminals involved are getting sophisticated each passing day.

He said the new prosecutorial guidelines promote inter-agency co-ordination and end confusion in investigating arms.

“The new guidelines state that the PG should direct investigations and work closely with the investigating arms to ensure coordination and effective prosecution of cases,” said Mr Hodzi.

He reiterated that the NPA was the sole constitutionally mandated office responsible for prosecutions.

“At the end of the day, we are waging a war against economic saboteurs. They are affecting the ease of doing business in the country.

The Zimbabwe is open for business mantra by the Second Republic is also being trampled upon by these high-profile figures who have been evading prosecution.

The Government increases civil servant’s salaries and soon, there is a price hike which renders Government’s efforts worthless and therefore the need for us to work together and bring these culprits to book,” said Mr Hodzi.

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