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Mnangagwa Fires Arrested Labor Minister Mupfumira


Zimbabwe tourism and environment minister Prisca Mupfumira, center, arrives at court in Harare, July 26, 2019.

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa has sacked arrested Labor Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who is facing charges of corruption involving $95 million from the state pension fund, the National Social Security Authority.

In a letter dated August 8, 2019, signed by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, President Mnangagwa said he fired Mupfumira due to her inappropriate conduct.

“Please be advised that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, has in terms of section 340, subsection (1), paragraph (f) as read with section 104, subsection (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe has removed you, Prisca Mupfumira from the office of Cabinet Minister and Minister of Government with immediate effect for conduct inappropriate for a Government Minister.”

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed the sacking of Mupfumira but declined to add any further details.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) arrested Mupfumira a week ago and laid charges against her ranging from abuse of state pension funds to finance her political campaigns to directing investments of up to $62 million into a bank against the advice of the National Social Security Authority.

CORRUPTION

Mupfumira is also accused of leaning on the pension fund to enter into property deals with the same bank worth $15.7 million.

The charges arose from Mupfumira’s tenure as labor minister between 2014 and 2018, when she oversaw the state pension fund.

Prosecutors say she is linked to several other suspected cases of corruption involving millions of dollars in state funds.

Transparency International says Zimbabwe loses $1 billion to corruption every year.

Zimbabwe's state pension fund, which has assets exceeding $1 billion, has often been targeted for looting by politicians and public officials, none of whom have been prosecuted until now.

The auditor general completed a forensic audit into the state pension fund in March. Opposition parliamentarians, who believe the report details extensive fraud, have been pushing for it to be released. Labor Minister Sekai Nzenza says the report will be released soon.

200 CASES UNDER REVIEW

The new anti-graft body has, however, said the audit report forms the basis of one of 200 corruption cases it is currently pursuing.

Mupfumira is locked up at Chikurubi Remand Prison in the outskirts of the capital, Harare.

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