Police in Zimbabwe, acting on Anti-Corruption Commission orders, have arrested another lawmaker in a crackdown on official abuse of constituency development funds.
Bulawayo police arrested Pumula North legislator Albert Mhlanga for failing to account in full for the US$50,000 allocated to his constituency in 2010.
Mhlanga’s lawyer, Liberty Mcijo, said his client, the third legislator to be arrested in the crackdown, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he failed to account for US$40,000 of the total US$50,000 placed in his hands. He was released on US$400 bail.
Mhlanga, of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is accused of transferring more than US$32,000 into his private bank account and to a construction supplies business owned by a friend, Mcijo said.
Legislators Marvellous Khumalo of St. Mary’s and Franco Ndambakuwa of Magunje have also been arrested and face similar charges.
Mcijo said Mhlanga is challenging all the fraud allegations filed against him by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo said legislators who abuse development funds should face the wrath of the law.
Elsewhere, Zimbabwean ministers made a passionate plea to citizens in the diaspora and foreign investors at a trade and investment conference in Johannesburg to partner up with the Harare government to boost ten struggling state-owned enterprises.
But the call for investment, coming as it did as the ZANU-PF side of the government threatened expropriation of assets if mining companies did not comply, was not generally received, correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported.