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‘Justice delivery system fraught with corruption’

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JUSTICE and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu has admitted that the country’s justice delivery system is fraught with high-level corruption involving police, prison officers and court officials.

REPORT BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

Addressing a Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)-organised workshop for his ministry’s anti-corruption committee last week, Gutu said there was need to introduce an Act that protects whistleblowers as a way of combating corruption in the justice delivery system.

“Corruption has reached an alarming rate in Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs is doing everything it can to make sure that those engaging in corruption are prosecuted,” said Gutu.

“In the justice delivery system, corruption is multifaceted and interconnected involving also the police, prison officers, interpreters, clerks of courts, prosecutors and even the magistrates.”

Gutu said corruption was not only liable against persons in authority, but also the public.

“Zimbabwe is lagging behind in fighting corruption as we do not have an Act to provide for whistleblowers. Such an Act would provide protection to a disclosure of any violation of law, except for an alleged violation that is a minor, inadvertent violation that occurs during the conscientious carrying-out of official duties.”

He said he hoped the development of a policy on whistleblowers would soon take place, culminating into a law.

On curbing corruption, Gutu said his ministry introduced an anti-corruption committee in October 2009 to identify and stem the scourge.

Speaking at the same workshop, TIZ board member Sandra Mehlomakhulu said it was imperative for committee members to be able to study the existing legislative and institutional framework as well as regional and international treaties on corruption so that they would be able to come up with ways to fight it in their ministry.

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