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19 Feb 2004 13:24
Prominent Zimbabwean businesswoman and women’s activist Jane Mutasa and her son Terence have been detained on suspicion of corruption, the latest casualties in President Robert Mugabe’s anti-graft blitz.
The state-owned Herald said on Thursday that Mutasa, a director in Telecel, Zimbabwe’s third-largest cellular company, together with her son, were charged with breaching the Exchange Control Act and externalising foreign currency worth more than Z$3-billion.
They appeared before a local magistrate’s court on Wednesday and were detained under Mugabe’s new anti-graft regulations, which allow for detention of up to 30 days without trial.
Another businessman and a member of the ruling Zanu-PF, James Makamba, is facing similar charges of externalising billions of dollars in both local and foreign currency.
Makamba, also a director in Telecel, has been in jail since his arrest on Monday and is being detained under the same regulations.
Meanwhile, Mugabe repeated his warnings against corrupt leaders.
“The time has come for us to deal with the scourge and no stone will be left unturned, no matter what position you hold,” Mugabe was quoted as saying during a tour of a farm owned by Bindura businessman Kenneth Musanhi, in central Zimbabwe.
The Herald quoted Mugabe as saying he had “declared war against economic saboteurs and those who were amassing wealth through fraudulent means”.
Another Zanu-PF member and legislator, Phillip Chiyangwa, arrested last month and detained for 10 days in jail on corruption charges, is out on bail.
During a Cabinet reshuffle recently, Mugabe created an Anti-Corruption Ministry headed by party stalwart Didymus Mutasa.
Transparency International Zimbabwe, which has bemoaned high corruption levels in this Southern African nation, has said it is opposed to the anti-graft regulations as they are unconstitutional.
The regulations have also been criticised for the same reason by the Zimbabwe Human Rights for Lawyers and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.—Sapa-AFP
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