Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Thursday said it has detained Environment and Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira on allegations of corruption reported Reuters.
It is the first high-profile arrest following the appointment of ZACC chair Loice Matanda-Moyo, who has vowed zero tolerance for crimes and obstruction.
According to state-owned daily The Herald, the anti-corruption commission detained the minister to question her about the alleged disappearance of millions of dollars at the country’s pension fund when she was social welfare minister.
“We can confirm that the Minister of Tourism is currently in our custody for questioning and possible due processes,” the commission said in a tweet. It did not give any details.
Mupfumira is the first senior government official to be detained by the anti-corruption commission, which was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on July 15 after he promised tough action against graft. She is the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be arrested for graft under the President’s new administration.
Mupfumira was fired as social welfare minister by ex-president Robert Mugabe a few weeks before a military-led coup that toppled the long-time ruler in November 2017. She was reappointed after Mugabe’s exit and given a new portfolio.
Mupfumira was previously labor minister who oversaw the $1 billion state pension fund. In an audit report in June, the ZACC has accused several prominent officials of abuse of funds. The scandal has been labeled as the “National Social Security Authority Scandal”.
According to Transparency International, corruption costs Zimbabwe’s economy at least $1 billion annually.