As Zimbabwe celebrates the International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December 2019) Zimbabwean policy-makers and relevant authorities are urged to reflect on all issues hampering the country’s national anti-corruption drive. Among the challenges include the following:
- Hesitation to investigate and prosecute Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs): As a result, PEPs continue to enjoy impunity in Zimbabwe since most of them are not being investigated for various corruption offenses that they commit. In the event that they get arrested, the trials are deliberately made to be too long and winding before acquittals. The 2018 version of a list of individuals implicated in corruption is reflected as Annex -2- of a report produced by the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA). It appears that almost all leaders including former and current Presidents and Vice Presidents are implicated in corruption. Refer to Annexure of the report attached hereto;
- Political interference into the investigation and prosecution of corruption: Allegations of political interference are rampant, especially when PEPs, their families, friends, and compatriots are involved. ACT-SA refers to one of the cases from Gokwe which it escalated to the Prosecutor General’s Office who did not take any action to date;
- Refusal and/or neglect to pursue corruption cases to their logical conclusion: Important cases are not brought to their logical conclusion regardless of their deleterious effects on development. A shining example is the case of externalizers who refused and / or neglected to comply after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had given them a moratorium to return externalized wealth without any questions asked. The moratorium was extended but still, the externalizers did not comply. Since 2018, relevant authorities have not done anything to arrest and prosecute as promised.
- Lack of capacity to investigate, prosecute and preside over corruption cases: Corruption is a complex and sophisticated crime yet the law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and magistrates are not receiving adequate training to ensure that they are always equipped to deal with the crime. This challenge has been unearthed through a number of acquittals of accused persons due to incomplete or poorly compiled dockets.
- Inadequate resources to investigate corruption cases: Institutions such as Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) lack the capacity to execute their anti-corruption mandates in the most effective and efficient manner. For instance, ZACC has no offices country-wide which makes it impossible to reach all parts of the country. The government should provide adequate resources to enable them to execute their mandates in the most effective, efficient and sustainable manner.
- Citizen Apathy: The participation and involvement of the general populace in anti-corruption are minimal. The general populace is not actively involved and engaged in anti-corruption
- Questionable Integrity of individuals holding public office: Public office is occupied by individuals whose names have been fingered in several corruption scandals. It appears that the government and other authorities do not screen individuals before the appointment. Annex 2 attached to the report has the names of individuals who have been implicated in corruption but continue to enjoy public office.
In keeping with the above challenges the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) makes the following recommendations:
- In keeping with the zero-tolerance policy against corruption all individuals, including PEPs alleged to have committed corruption should be investigated and prosecuted without interference, fear or favour;
- Expedite the prosecution of corruption cases;
- All individuals alleged to have interfered in the investigations and prosecution of corruption should be named, shamed, arrested and prosecuted regardless of their political standing;
- Individuals and entities accused of externalization should be arrested, investigated, prosecuted, jailed and be forced to return what they externalized;
- Build the capacities of the law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and magistrates to investigate, prosecute and preside over corruption cases respectively;
- The treasury should allocate more resources to ZACC and other institutions involved in fighting corruption.
- Conscientise the citizens of Zimbabwe against corruption and its negative effects of development and their lives;
- All individuals holding public office but having been fingered in corruption should be relieved of their positions until they are cleared.
- The government should expeditiously finalise the development of a whistleblowing legislation which guarantees the safety and protection of all reporting persons
Download the report here (587KB PDF)
Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)