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Mugabe vows crackdown on high-profile graft

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Published: 15 March 2014

Harare (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Friday vowed to crackdown on corruption involving high-profile officials at state institutions following recent damning exposures of graft, including at the national airline.

“If there was any corruption, people will answer for it, I tell you,” Mugabe said at a belated party hosted by civil servants and security forces to celebrate his 90th birthday.

His warning came after media reports of alleged corruption involving senior officials across a number of state-run bodies including the government pensions authority, power utilities and the national airline, Air Zimbabwe.

“It has ruined the country,” said Mugabe describing corruption as a “growing disease”.

The media has also reported on grossly inflated salaries for bosses at the public broadcaster which failed to pay workers for more than six months.

And the CEO of a public service health insurance fund, which has been in arrears in its remittances to hospitals and practitioners, has reportedly been receiving a monthly salary of $230,000 (165,000 euros).

Mugabe also poked fun at the tensions in the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) saying the party’s in-fighting was caused by their loss to his party in general elections last year.

“It’s disorganised them as you can see,” he said.

The MDC has been embroiled in squabbles following the suspension of deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma after he suggested Morgan Tsvangirai should step down as leader of the party following last year’s defeat to Mugabe.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, turned 90 on February 21.

Birthday celebrations were held at a stadium in the small town of Marondera, east of the capital and attended by thousands of supporters.