HARARE – A Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) commissioner who was suspended earlier this month over “corruption allegations” says he fears for his life after his gun and police guards were withdrawn from his home.
Frank Muchengwa says there has been a spate of suspicious break-ins at his house, office and also his vehicle since his suspension on September 8.
He is now fighting his suspension at the High Court, calling it a “legal nullity”.
The former police superintendent received a letter from the Judicial Services Commission on September 8 indicating that they had resolved in a meeting of September 3 that President Emmerson Mnangagwa should appoint a tribunal to determine if he should be removed from office.
The following day, ZACC chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo then removed him from a WhatsApp group of commissioners before ordering that he should be barred from ZACC offices, he says in papers filed at the High Court this week.
Matanda-Moyo then orally suspended Muchengwa from his duties on September 11 before facilitating a change of locks to his office.
Muchengwa said he subsequently received a call from the police on September 18 directing him to surrender his pistol.
He argues in court that Matanda-Moyo has no authority to suspend a commissioner, only the president of the country can.
He said in an affidavit: “In all material respects I still occupy the office of a commissioner and the locking of my office hinders my work. I have some pending matters of national interest that are under investigation. I have a serious apprehension that if I continue to be barred from entering the office someone may tamper with the files.
“I am still exposed to serious security risks as there were break-ins at my house once, two in my car and once at my office.
“I am advised that my purported suspension is a legal nullity and in all respects I am still called upon to execute my duties as a commissioner by the appointing authority until the appointing authority decides to appoint a tribunal and refer the matter.
“If my personal security is revoked, I am exposed to serious risks because of the matters I am working on. I only have one life; it would be a tragedy if I lose it.”
In the application, he cited ZACC and its chairperson Matanda-Moyo as respondents.
Muchengwa was appointed as a commissioner in September 2019 and allocated a police detail and service pistol for security at his home.
ZACC has not disclosed details of the corruption allegations forming the basis of Muchengwa’s suspension.
The matter is pending.