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Prisca Mupfumira

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 Mnangagwa 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 labour 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 favour. (Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Hon Priscah Mupfumira

A commission tasked with stemming graft in Zimbabwe has wasted no time in proving its arresting powers, by bringing to book government officials accused of corrupt activities.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), confirmed in a tweet, Thursday, that reports that the country's Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira, was in its custody, was indeed true.

"We confirm that the Minister of Tourism is currently in our custody for questioning and possible due processes," the tweet stated, without giving detail why the minister of the arrest. "We cannot respond to any questions at the moment as this is an live process. The press will be informed through release later in the day. We'll keep updating..."

Mupfumira, a longtime Zanu-PF party member and government official who previously let the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, is the first sitting cabinet official to be arrested under the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who swore in members of the newly appointed commission, last week.

According to the state paper, The Herald, and other reports, Mupfumira was arrested over the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) audit report, currently in the hands of current labor Minister, Sekai Nzenza.

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