ACC clampdown move refreshing

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The recent blitz by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to clamp down on the corruption which has clearly gone viral is both welcome and refreshing.

The ACC has been responsible for several arrests in recent weeks that have netted Chitungwiza town clerk Godfery Tanyanyiwa on charges of abuse of office and fraud involving more than $700 000.

It has also claimed the scalps of MDC-T St Marys MP Marvellous Khumalo over allegations of misappropriating $50 000 from the Constituency Development Fund as well as prosecutor Moffat Makuvatsine for receiving a $500 bribe to release a suspect.

This is commendable and demonstrates that the commission finally has more bite to accompany the bark they have been making.

The commission, which was sworn in late last year and is chaired by lawyer Denford Chirindo, has probably done more in less than a year than the previous moribund commission achieved through its whole tenure.

The previous commission only existed in name with no major arrests under their watch. It is no surprise, therefore, that we find ourselves 154th out of the 186 countries listed on the Corruption Perceptions Index released last year.

There is need for the commission to up the ante and investigate cases that involve more prominent individuals to show just how serious they are in tackling the scourge of corruption.

An example of such a case that needs investigation would be revelations from the divorce case involving Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and his wife Marian. Marian, in her court papers, alleged that the minister has vast wealth, acquired while earning a modest civil servants salary.

The court documents show that Chombo has several farms and mines as wells as hunting lodges countrywide and properties in South Africa.

Added to these are numerous residential and commercial stands. There is need, therefore, to investigate how these properties were acquired and whether the minister has not abused his ministerial position in the accumulation of his vast wealth.

There should be no sacred cows for the commission as it looks to fight corruption which has become a way of life for many. Only when prominent individuals such as Cabinet ministers, governors and other senior government officials can account for their wealth will the commission prove that they are committed to fighting corruption wholeheartedly.

For far too long cases of rampant corruption involving senior government officials have been reported, but not nipped in the bud. From the Willowvale scandal in the late 1980s to the War Victims Compensation Fund and VIP housing scheme scandals in the late 1990s, no credible investigations were undertaken and the perpetrators went scot-free.

This has damaged the countrys reputation and with it the publics confidence in the countrys justice system.

The AAC can go a long way in restoring that battered confidence if it investigates and apprehends individuals regardless of their standing in the community.

This might be well overdue, but it is never too late to start!