Crime & Courts

Mnangagwa aide arrested by ZACC over vehicle customs duty avoidance

HARARE – Douglas Tapfuma, the former principal director of state residences, was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) late Tuesday afternoon facing corruption charges.

Tapfuma, who was previously linked to several corruption cases including the disappearance of over US$6 million at Hwange Colliery, was detained at Mabelreign Police Station, his lawyer Valentine Mutatu said.

State broadcaster the ZBC reported that he was detained over allegations that he signed letters for friends authorising the importation of vehicles without paying customs duties.

He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Tapfuma is the second individual to be arrested by the commission appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa two weeks ago after Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira was detained last Thursday and linked to corruption amounting to US$95 million at the state pensions body, NSSA.


Tapfuma was removed as principal director of state residencies last November and shunted to a lesser role as the principal director for monitoring and evaluation in the Office of the President and Cabinet after he was linked to massive corruption at Hwange Colliery. Allegations were also made that he was summoning individuals to State House to intimidate and threaten them.

Juliana Muskwe, Hwange’s board chairperson, revealed last year how she was summoned to State House by Tapfuma who directed her to approve certain transactions while Mines Minister Winston Chatando looked on – apparently paralysed by fear. She left the room in tears, she told a parliamentary committee.

Tapfuma was also accused of maintaining a “torture chamber” at State House where individuals who stood in the way of his corrupt deals were tortured.

He was considered as one of Mnangagwa’s closest allies after replacing Innocent Dzapasi Tizora, who was director of state residencies under former President Robert Mugabe, toppled in a military coup in November 2017.

Now investigators say he abused his proximity to Mnangagwa to engage in illegal activities.