BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ANTI-CORRUPTION watchdog, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) has warned that State-owned enterprises (SOE’s) will continue to be bled by corrupt senior civil servants and ministers as long as they are not reformed.
The TI-Z added that arresting of ministers and other senior civil servants for looting dry SOEs will not stop graft unless there is urgent reform of the parastatals most of which are teetering on the brink of collapse due to poor corporate government, political interference among other irregularities.
This follows the recent arrest of former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira for criminal abuse of office involving
US$95million belonging to pension fund, National Social Security Authority (Nssa).
Mupfumira faces further charges of alleged money laundering and fraudulently ordering companies dealing with the Nssa to transfer money into her personal
“It’s the current set up in most government entities that gives room for graft. It is its legal for one to actually illegally benefit from those SOEs. It is a
corrupt chain from the low ranking officer in the SOE, to board members, to permanent secretary and ultimately the minister that is put to protect most of the
government scandals,” Njabulo Moyo, the TI-Z advocacy officer said.
Public Service minister Sekai Nzenza is also quoted in the State media yesterday acknowledging that there is need to plug holes in SOEs such as Nssa to root out corruption, saying poor corporate governance was also at play.
Moyo added: “We need to de-culture that system that allows corruption to emanate. It is a systemic way in which protects those in power linking them to those
that are subordinate to them. There is more or less of a corruption value chain.
“It’s a deliberate approach where low serving servants and those in top work in cahoots to loot State funds. The arresting of a minister or any other official
is not enough because of this system that breeds corruption.”
Government has talked of SOEs reform, but there has been little movement on that front.
The TI-Z yesterday held a regional anti-corruption indaba at a local hotel whose aim was to strengthen collaboration among the various anti-corruption actors
in Zimbabwe, encourage and influence multi-stakeholder commitment to the fight against corruption and creating a platform for stakeholders in the anti-
corruption chain to critically examine and reflect on the current anti-corruption agenda in Zimbabwe.