THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is calling for urgent legislative reforms to give it more power to combat the scourge of corruption in the country.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Zacc wants to be allowed to arrest and prosecute suspects implicated in corruption.
The commission said while the Constitution allowed it to investigate crimes such money-laundering, fraud, corruption and commercial crimes, it did not have arresting powers nor prosecuting authority and relies on other government departments.
Zacc chairperson Job Whabira said there was need for the immediate overhauling of the enabling legislation to give them more powers.
“Zacc needs to have arresting powers, special prosecuting authority and we need to have a whistleblower protection law to make our work easier,” he said.
“The legislative framework, as it is, impinges Zacc’s work.”
In other jurisdictions like South Africa and Zambia, the agencies that deal with combating corruption are empowered to make search and seizures, arrest suspects and have special prosecuting authority integrated within the agencies.
Zacc’s arresting powers are currently being contested in the Constitutional Court, after the commission last year “arrested” Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo on allegations of fraud.
Meanwhile, the commission’s chief investigating officer, Alex Masiye, told the Defence and Security Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that it did not have enough qualified staff to conduct investigations across the country.
“I am a bitter man for having to lead a small team,” he said.
“The investigations department has got 36 officers to do all the work.
“Of the 36, 21 are seconded officers from police and other security agencies.
“Of the 21 seconded officers, only eight have experience in investigating economic crimes and the rest are undergoing training.”
The commission is currently negotiating with Treasury to be allowed to employ more staff.
Presently, Zacc has 204 approved vacancies, but it is seeking 33 more.