Ex-Brazilian Football Chief Teixeira Banned For Life

This file photo taken on August 16, 2016 shows former president of the CBF Ricardo Teixeira looking on at the burial of Joao Havelange, FIFA’s president between 1974 and 1998, at the cemetery of Sao Joao Batista in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro.TASSO MARCELO / AFP

 

Ex-Brazilian football chief Ricardo Teixeira was banned for life from football on Friday for bribery, FIFA announced.

World football’s governing body said the Brazilian was banned and fined one million Swiss francs (907,000 Euro) for taking bribes for marketing and media rights for continental and Brazilian football competitions between 2006 and 2012.

Teixeira, the 72-year-old ex-son-in-law of the late former FIFA president Joao Havelange, is also a former FIFA executive committee and standing committee member.

FIFA said in a statement that its investigation into Teixeira focused on “bribery schemes” carried out between 2006 and 2012 “in relation to his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights” for competitions run by the federations (CBF) of Brazil, South America (CONMEBOL) and North and Central America (CONCACAF).

Teixeira is wanted by US authorities for his part in a major corruption scandal that erupted in 2015 implicating a string of top officials in world football.

His successor Jose Maria Marin was arrested in Zurich in 2015 ahead of a FIFA meeting, extradited to the United States and later sentenced to four years in prison by the American courts.

But Teixeira, and another former CBF chief Marco Polo Del Nero have remained in Brazil and escaped extradition.

Teixeira also dodged a Spanish attempt to bring him to justice for alleged involvement in the same case that saw ex-Barcelona boss Sandro Rosell jailed.

He has also been under investigation in Andorra and Switzerland.

“Is there a safer place than Brazil? Which? Why would I run if here I’m not accused of anything? Everything they accuse me of abroad is not a crime in Brazil. Not that I’m saying if I did it or not,” he told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper in 2017.

Defiant Netanyahu Rejects Graft Indictment, Vows To Stay

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at his Likud Party headquarters in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on election night early on April 10, 2019. Thomas COEX / AFP

 

A defiant Benjamin Netanyahu rejected all allegations of graft Thursday, vowing to stay on as the leader in Israel despite being indicted on a series of corruption charges.

Netanyahu denounced what he called the “false” and “politically motivated” allegations, hours after being charged by the attorney general with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

“What is going on here is an attempt to stage a coup against the prime minister,” Netanyahu said.

READ ALSO: Netanyahu Indicted For Bribery, Fraud And Breach Of Trust

“The object of the investigations was to oust the right-wing from government.”

In a 15-minute speech, Netanyahu railed against his political rivals and state institutions, accusing the police and judiciary of bias.

The veteran politician argued that it was time for an “investigation of the investigators”.

He vowed to continue as prime minister despite potential court dates and intense political pressure.

“I will continue to lead this country, according to the letter of the law,” he said.

“I will not allow lies to win.”

South African Former Minister Arrested For Corruption

Another Nigerian Killed In South Africa

South Africa’s elite police on Thursday arrested a senior lawmaker and ex-state security minister for graft, the first such high-profile arrest in recent years. 

Bongani Bongo, a close ally of former president Jacob Zuma, is accused of offering a bribe to a lawyer who was building the state’s case in a 2017 parliamentary inquiry into the troubled state-owned power utility Eskom.

“The charges are that he offered money to (an) advocate… which (the prosecutor) refused, that is the charge of corruption that we have against him now,” prosecutions spokesman Eric Ntabazalila told state broadcaster SABC in Cape Town.

Bongo, who currently chairs the home affairs committee in parliament, appeared before a magistrate court and was freed on bail of 5,000 rand (306 euros, $340).

He was ordered to return to court on January 31.

Zuma appointed Bongo state security minister just two weeks after he allegedly tried to bribe lawyer Nthutuzela Vanara during a parliamentary probe into Eskom. He lasted only four months in the job before he was removed in a cabinet reshuffle.

Under Zuma, state-owned companies were at the centre of corruption scandals known as “state capture”.

Zuma was forced to resign as president in February 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marred by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

Anti-graft watchdog Corruption Watch welcomed the arrest, saying it points to the commitment of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to tackle graft.

“The fact that a high-profile political figure like Bongo has been arrested is very encouraging,” Corruption Watch executive David Lewis told AFP.

“There is determination on the part of the law enforcement basically to start enforcing the law,” he said.

AFP

Court Drops Corruption Charges Against New Sri Lanka President

Sri Lanka’s President-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrives to take the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony at the Ruwanwelisaya temple in Anuradhapura on November 18, 2019. Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

 

 

Corruption charges against Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa were dropped Thursday by a court, which handed his passport back as he acquired immunity from prosecution after being elected last weekend.

Under Sri Lanka’s constitution, no court proceedings can be maintained against a serving president. However, action could be taken after he leaves office.

The High Court had indicted Rajapaksa in September last year on charges of siphoning off 33 million rupees (around $185,000) in state funds to build a memorial for his parents.

The court also released his passport which had been impounded, allowing him to make his first overseas trip as president to India next week at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rajapaksa was being tried before a special court established by the former government to expedite high-profile corruption cases. Rajapaksa, 70, had pleaded not guilty.

Six others were also charged along with Rajapaksa and their fate will be decided when the case is taken up for a hearing on January 9, the court said.

Official sources said Rajapaksa was also entitled to claim foreign sovereign immunity in respect to two civil cases filed against him in California for allegedly causing the death of a senior newspaper editor and torture.

He has denied responsibility for the killing of anti-establishment editor Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009 and torturing suspects when he headed the defence ministry under brother Mahinda’s presidency between 2005 and 2015.

Wickrematunge was murdered days before he was due to testify in a defamation case brought by Gotabaya Rajapaksa after his paper accused him of corruption in a deal to buy MiG jets from Ukraine.

Rajapaksa was elected president on Saturday and was due later Thursday to swear in his brother Mahinda as prime minister.

Corruption: Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir To Know Fate On Dec. 14

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses parliament in the capital Khartoum on April 1, 2019 in his first such speech since he imposed a state of emergency across the country on February 22. al-Bashir has since been ousted and is now on trial. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

The verdict in the corruption trial of Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir is to be delivered on December 14, a judge announced Saturday, as his supporters staged a  protest outside the court.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in April, has been on trial in a Khartoum court since August on charges of illegally acquiring and using foreign funds — offences that could land him behind bars for more than a decade.

Several hearings have been held, including one on Saturday, in the presence of the deposed leader who followed the proceedings from inside a metal cage.

“It has been decided that on December 14 a session will be held to deliver the verdict,” judge Sadeq Abdelrahman said.

Authorities seized 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds ($128,000) from Bashir’s home, Abdelrahman said at the start of the trial in August.

Bashir said at the time that the funds were the remainder of $25 million received from Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The aid, he said, formed part of Sudan’s strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were “not used for private interests but as donations”.

Several defence witnesses testified in court, some backing up Bashir’s account.

Against the backdrop of trial in Khartoum, calls have grown from global rights groups, activists and victims of the war in Darfur to transfer Bashir to The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

‘No, No to ICC’

Bashir is wanted by the ICC for his alleged role in the Darfur war that broke out in 2003 as ethnic African rebels took up arms against Bashir’s then Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

Khartoum applied what rights groups say was a scorched earth policy against ethnic groups suspected of supporting the rebels — raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

The ICC has accused Bashir of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the vast western region of Darfur. He denies the charges.

About 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, according to the United Nations.

On Saturday, dozens of Bashir’s supporters carrying his portraits held a protest outside the court, vowing to oppose any move by Sudan’s new authorities to hand him over to the ICC.

“We are with you. We will never betray you. No, no to ICC,” chanted the crowd as the former president was brought to the courthouse for the hearing.

“President Bashir represents the whole of Sudan. We have an independent judiciary and if any trials are to be held, they must be held here,” said demonstrator Mohamed Ali Daklai.

“We reject any outside or foreign tribunal. ICC is anyway a political court used by Western countries to pressure the weak.”

Bashir was ousted following nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.

The army generals who initially seized power after the president’s fall refused to hand 75-year-old Bashir over to the ICC.

 

AFP

Lawmaker Takes Lie Detector Test Over Corruption Claims

Davyd Arakhamia (C), leader of the parliamentary faction of the Ukrainian president’s Servant of the People speaks with Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinsky (L) prior to a test with a lie detector in Kiev on October 23, 2019. GENYA SAVILOV / AFP

 

A lawmaker from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party took a lie detector test on Wednesday after the president called for a group of MPs to be tested over corruption allegations.

Oleksandr Dubinsky, from Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, streamed the test live on the internet.

Earlier, Davyd Arakhamia, leader of the parliamentary faction of the president’s party, had told reporters “we will go on a lie detector”.

All MPs from the president’s party who are also members of a special committee that examines draft legislation will be subjected to the test.

According to reports, MPs on the committee have allegedly taken bribes to block an anti-corruption law aimed at regulating the property market. The bill has not yet gone before parliament.

Zelensky on Wednesday called for the ten MPs involved to take the lie detector test.

READ ALSO: Thai King Sacks Six Palace Officials For ‘Evil Actions’

So far, the lawmakers are not facing any charges but investigators have launched a probe after journalists and bloggers reported a possible crime.

If these checks find “even the slightest possibility that the lawmakers took the money… then the anti-corruption authorities should deal with these lawmakers,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook.

Later Dubinsky, a member of the committee in question, was as good as his word and aired his lie detector test live on the internet.

“Did you personally vote against this bill in exchange for a bribe?” he was asked by an expert carrying out the test.

“Did anyone promise to pay you for a vote against this bill?” the expert continued, after the MP replied “no” to the first question.

It was not clear when all the deputies involved would take the lie detector test.

Zelensky, a former comedian, won presidential elections in spring on a programme promising to eradicate corruption.

According to Transparency International Ukraine is ranked 120th out of 180 on the NGO’s corruption perception index, faring better than Russia (in 138th place) but still falling far behind its European Union neighbours.

South Africa’s Ex-President, Zuma Delays Corruption Trial With Appeal

File Photo: Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

The corruption trial of South Africa’s embattled former president Jacob Zuma has been delayed again after his lawyer announced Tuesday he would appeal.

The last-minute move pushes back a long-awaited trial over bribery allegations dating back to a 1990s arms deal. Zuma dismissed the charges as a conspiracy.

If it goes ahead, the trial would be the first time Zuma faces a court on graft charges, despite a string of accusations over his long political career.

The High Court in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg last week rejected his request to have 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering dismissed, clearing the way for the trial to start on Tuesday.

But Zuma’s lawyer Thabani Masuku told the court at the start of the trial that the ex-president would appeal, dragging on a case that has seen numerous legal twists over 15 years.

After the hearing, Zuma told a small group of supporters gathered outside court that “there have been many conspirators against me”.

“There is no justice that will be served by continuing with this case,” he told the crowd in Zulu.

Zuma was forced to resign as president last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marred by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

He is accused of taking bribes worth four million rand ($270,000, 240,000 euros) when he was deputy president from a 51-billion-rand ($3.4-billion) 1999 arms purchase by five European firms, including French defence company Thales.

Both Zuma and Thales, which is accused of paying the bribes and was also to stand trial, deny the charges.

‘Another cunning move’

The appeal, which must be filed by November 1, will be heard on November 22. If denied, proceedings are scheduled to resume on the provisional date of February 4.

State lawyer Billy Downer told the court that the prosecution believed the appeal would fail and requested the trial start as soon as possible.

Legal analysts have said a delay would have been likely even without the appeal, given the size of the case.

For its part, Zuma’s defence team maintained that the ex-president had been ready for trial for 14 years.

Legal expert Pierre de Vos of the University of Cape Town said that “if all the courts refuse to hear the appeal, there will be a short delay.”

“If they hear the appeal there will be another year or two before they can begin a trial,” he told AFP, adding that he could face 15 years in jail if found guilty.

Analysts have warned that if Zuma goes on trial, he will drag down with him many leaders of Nelson Mandela’s ANC, which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party in a statement slammed “yet another cunning move by Zuma to avoid jail” and called for the government to ensure the ex-president pay his legal fees.

After a court ruled last year that he should pay his own way, Zuma claimed he was so broke that he had to sell his socks.

‘Teflon President’ 

Critics have dubbed Zuma the “Teflon president” for his reputed ability to evade judicial reckoning.

He has also been accused of organising the systematic plunder of government coffers in a scandal known as “state capture”.

He appeared at an inquiry into the scandal in July, putting on a defiant performance and denying all wrongdoing.

Zuma’s successor President Cyril Ramaphosa told a conference hosted by the Financial Times in London this week that corruption during Zuma’s administration is estimated to have cost the country more than 500 billion rand ($34 billion).

Ramaphosa has vowed to tackle deep-seated corruption but faces opposition from powerful senior ANC members, many of whom remain Zuma allies.

“Zuma was in charge for nearly two terms but did very little for us ordinary people,” Sakhile Dube, a 30-year-old clothes seller, told AFP outside the Pietermaritzburg court.

“We are still waiting to see if Ramaphosa can assist us and remedy the situation,” he added.

Eight Assembly Frustrated FG’s Efforts To Fight Corruption, Says Sagay

 

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, has said the Eight Assembly frustrated President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in the fight against corruption.

Sagay stated this on Thursday after members of his committee met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“I am happy to say that the capacity of corruption to fight back has been reduced with the expiration of the life of the Eight Assembly.

“That is where the main opposition to this government was constituted. That was the centre, the main opposition to the fight against corruption,  and at that time it did not depend on which party they belonged to. They all ganged up together against the fight against corruption.

“They did everything they could to frustrate the (federal) government and ourselves in this fight against corruption,” he said.

The Eight Assembly was headed by Senator Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara, both of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to him, recoveries up to N1trillion was made locally from looters while the fight against corruption is on course.

Speaking further, Sagay commended the President in his administration’s efforts to rid the nation of corruption, an act he believes is being recognised by the international community.

He said Nigeria was lucky to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of government.

“We congratulate you (Buhari) for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC,” he stated.

US Blacklists South Africa’s Zuma-Allied Guptas Over ‘Corruption’

Former South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges.  Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

The US Treasury announced sanctions Thursday on South Africa’s Gupta business family, close friends of ex-president Jacob Zuma, calling them a “significant corruption network” that dispersed bribes and misappropriated millions in state funds.

The three Indian-born Gupta brothers — Ajay, Atul and Rajesh — are at the center of a South African investigation into rampant corruption during Zuma’s nine-year administration.

His rule ended with a myriad of graft scandals that forced him to step down in February last year.

“The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury’s designation targets the Guptas’ pay-to-play political patronage, which was orchestrated at the expense of the South African people,” she said.

The sanctions immediately freeze any assets the blacklisted individuals have under US jurisdiction and forbid Americans and US businesses — particularly international banks with any US operations — from transactions with them.

The sanctions were placed under the US Global Magnitsky Act which targets large-scale corruption and human rights violations.

“We support the anti-corruption efforts of South Africa’s independent judiciary, law enforcement agencies, and the ongoing judicial commissions of inquiry,” the Treasury said.

The Gupta brothers are accused of fraudulently profiting from government contracts, including energy and transport deals, through their close association with Zuma.

The accusations are part of an ongoing judicial inquiry probing allegations that Zuma organised a systematic plunder of government coffers in a scandal known as “state capture”.

South Africa’s justice minister “welcomed the collaborative efforts by the USA government” in the “fight against corruption”.

“The interest of justice must not be shackled by any boundary or border and justice must be seen to be done without fear or favour,” Ronald Lamola said.

The Guptas’ lawyer Rudi Krause said he was “aware” of the US’s decision.

“A press statement dealing with the issue will be published in due course,” he told AFP.

 Dodgy dealings 

Once one of South Africa’s wealthiest families, the Guptas left the country when the ruling African National Congress ousted Zuma from power early last year.

The brothers are reported to have relocated to Dubai, leaving behind a once-giant mining-to-media business conglomerate in shambles.

They have not been charged and their exact whereabouts are unknown.

Indian tax officials raided several properties belonging to the Guptas last year. They were linked to a massive $15 million temple the brothers are building in their hometown of Saharanpur.

Zuma appeared before the state capture commission in July, but withdrew on grounds that he had been “treated as someone who was accused,” according to his lawyers. He has agreed to return at a future date.

The former president’s 35-year-old son Duduzane Zuma testified this week, after he was accused by witnesses of acting as a conduit for the Guptas’ bribery.

He dismissed testimonies of a former deputy finance minister who said he was offered a $40-million bribe by Ajay Gupta at a meeting arranged by Duduzane Zuma, who was in a business partnership with the brothers.

“I’m not corrupt, I have not taken money from anybody, I never have and I never will,” Duduzane Zuma told the inquiry on Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded Zuma, has vowed to root out corruption.

Meanwhile, a South African court is scheduled to rule Friday on whether to press on with an earlier case involving corrupt payments Zuma allegedly received from a French arms company during the 1990s.

AFP

Somali President Signs Anti-Corruption Law

President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed gathers with Somalians at Sandton Convention Centre during his visit in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 27, 2019. Hassan Isilow / Anadolu Agency

 

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Saturday signed an anti-graft bill into law, a long-awaited piece of legislation in one of the world’s most corrupt nations.

The president, better known by his nickname Farmajo, came into office in 2017 vowing to combat the scourge which permeates evert aspect of life.

The new law will pave the way for the formation of independent anti-corruption commissions both on the federal and regional level, according to a statement from the president’s office.

“Corruption is worse than cancer because cancer kills only the individual, but corruption kills the whole society. I hope those who will be selected to be members of the committees will be decent, religious and patriotic,” the president said in a statement released Saturday after the signature.

In 2018, Somalia fell in last place in Transparency International’s perception of corruption index, and graft has hampered efforts to rebuild the nation after decades of chaos including civil war and an Islamist insurgency.

Farmajo’s government is keen to improve its image and win the confidence of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in a bid to secure formal debt relief.

“Good governance is the responsibility of the government and we are mandated to improve the different levels of the government. It is true that all cannot be corrected at once since the country was in chaos for so long, and that chaos created bad cultures in our society.”

AFP

SERAP Asks AGF To Adopt Public Registers For Corrupt Officials

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abukabar Malami (SAN), to adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Sunday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

The agency urged the AGF to use his good offices and leadership to “move swiftly to develop and adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption since the return of democracy in 1999”.

It also urged Mr Malami to ensure that the public registers contain accurate data and are fully accessible and open to public scrutiny.

Read the full statement below.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, urging him to use his good offices and leadership to: “move swiftly to develop and adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption since the return of democracy in 1999.

SERAP said: “We urge you to ensure that the public registers contain accurate data and are fully accessible and open to public scrutiny. Aspects such as the scope of the registers, who to include in the registers, and eligibility for removal from the registers, can be discussed in a consultative session with the civil society and other stakeholders.”

In the letter dated 23 August 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The proposed registers are far from severe, and would be a proportionate response to the grave crime of grand corruption and impunity of perpetrators and have a deterrent effect. There can be no reasonable expectation of privacy in matters already exposed to public viewing such as prior arrest, charges and conviction records.”

The organization said: “Public registers for high-ranking officials facing corruption charges and those convicted of corruption would be a pivotal moment in the fight against corruption by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the damage caused by graft to citizens’ human rights and Nigeria’s democratic process.”

SERAP also said: “The proposed registers for corrupt officials would serve a public interest purpose similar in some respects to the recently disclosed names and details by the United States Department of Justice of 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerians, that have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and other charges.”

The letter read in part: “SERAP is concerned that corruption is so pervasive across many states and at several levels of governance and has remained a constant feature of Nigeria’s political scene since 1999, turning public service for many into a kind of criminal enterprise. Grand corruption has continued to fuel political violence, deny millions of Nigerians access to clean water, and even the most basic health and education services, and reinforcing police abuses and other widespread patterns of human rights violations.”

“The lack of public registers containing detailed information about high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of corruption since 1999 has allowed many politicians—often with impunity–to use apparently illicitly acquired wealth to fund political parties, build corrupt patronage networks, thereby preventing fair access to economic and political power, serving to further the wealth and power of ruling elites, and exacerbating inequality.”

“Registers would help protect the public from corrupt officials and their collaborators and improve the ideal of representative government, as it would assist the citizens to properly exercise their right to participate in their own government.”

“Public registers would improve transparency by making it easier for the public to track the government’s fight against corruption and make the government as open as possible in its anti-corruption efforts. SERAP urges you to push for legislation that will require public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption at the federal, state and local government levels to put their names in the public registers.”

“Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state or by any other person, which is reasonably required for the exercise or protection of any rights, including those of citizens’ right to human dignity and freedom from corruption.”

“Registers for corrupt officials would also address the paucity of information about politicians and others complicit in the mismanagement of the country’s natural wealth and resources, with devastating consequences for citizens’ enjoyment of their human rights.”

“Many citizens lack knowledge and awareness of those charged with and convicted of grand corruption, and those that are complicit in the mismanagement of the country’s wealth and resources.”

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in developing and adopting public registers for corrupt officials and proposing legislation on the matter, as appropriate. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more detail with you.”

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
25/08/2019

Mugabe’s Ex-VP Flees Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Probe

Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s former vice president on Monday fled from anti-corruption questioning after he was summoned over alleged criminal abuse of office, officials said.

Phelekezela Mphoko, 79, who served under long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, was due at the police in Bulawayo, the country’s second city, to record a statement on the allegations.

But he drove off as soon as officials from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) approached his car.

“We had agreed to meet at the police post at the magistrate’s court to record a warned-and- cautioned statement and have his fingerprints taken but when our officials approached his car, he drove away at high speed,” ZACC spokesman John Makamure told AFP.

“He is now a fugitive from justice,” the spokesman said, facing accusations of ordering the release from police custody of a chief executive officer and a non-executive director of the state-run roads authority.

Mphoko was, along with current president Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of two vice presidents at the time of the ouster by the military of Mugabe in November 2017.

He left the country as the coup unfolded but later returned.

An attempt to arrest him by ZACC last week was blocked by his family.

ZACC tweeted Friday that it was “sad” that Mphoko had “refused to collaborate with the enforcement officers and unfortunate that he and those around him believe that they are above the law”.

Lawyer Zibusiso Ncube told AFP that they had an agreement with ZACC that on Monday he would sign a statement at the police “but when we got there they said they (the police) had instructions to detain him”.

“He drove away and is at home.”

The lawyer said the ex-vice president was prepared to appear in court to answer the charges, but “Mphoko claims he heard from impeccable sources that if he is detained, he will be injected with a poisonous substance”.

He is the second high ranking member of the ruling Zanu-PF party under probe by the recently reconstituted ZACC.

Prisca Mupfumira, who was fired as tourism minister earlier this month, became in July the first high profile official to be arrested and detained for alleged graft. She is still in remand prison after being denied bail.

AFP