Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS/PHILIMON BULAWAYO
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS/PHILIMON BULAWAYO

Harare — Zimbabwe’s tourism minister, Prisca Mupfumira, has been detained for questioning by a newly formed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission 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 $1bn annually.

“We can confirm that the minister of tourism is currently in our custody for questioning and possible due processes,” the commission said in a brief statement. It did not give any details.

Mupfumira, a senior member of the governing Zanu-PF party, was previously labour minister who oversaw the $1bn state pension fund. The commission 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 has been given the power to arrest suspects, but critics question whether it will be effective.

The opposition expressed doubt about 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 or favour.