THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) yesterday suggested that a $100 million budget for 2020 would suffice for the anti-graft body, which is also seeking to be allowed to retain a percentage of funds raised through recovery of illicitly acquired money or goods.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Zacc commissioners John Makamure, Thandiwe Mlobane, Jessie Majome and Gabriel Chaibva appeared before the Misheck Mataranyika-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice to speak on their 2019 budget proposals.
Majome told the MPs that in the four months that the new Zacc board was appointed, they managed to recover around $10 million assets acquired corruptly.
Chaibva disclosed that Treasury had only awarded Zacc $23 million for 2020, which was not enough considering the massive programmes at hand. These included regional decentralisation, legal reforms, education programmes and staff retention.
He said despite Zacc’s big name, the institution was initially allocated a paltry $6,4 million this year and later $36,7 million through the supplementary budget.
“However, we have challenges of disbursement and to date, which is two months before the end of the year, only 56% of that budget has been disbursed, and unless government gives us money, we will be unable to move forward,” Chaibva said.
“We had budgeted $560 000 for public education and publicity and corruption risk assessment, which is an important programme, but no cent has been disbursed, and from the $36 million from the supplementary budget, we are still waiting for $19 million.”
Mlobane told MPs that Zacc needed resources to carry out the devolution agenda, as well as to be able to recover assets worth over $300 million that were illicitly siphoned.
Makamure said the new Zacc had for the first time developed a five-year strategic plan, which is results-based and has six outcomes.
“This includes increasing investigations for prosecution. We want to ensure that those who are investigated and arrested are prosecuted. The second point is to increase asset recovery, and the third is improved access to Zacc services, where we want our citizens to access Zacc and we want Zacc to be taken out to the people,” he said.
Makamure said the previous Zacc board shied away from the people, but the new commissioners were determined to work with all stakeholders without discrimination in terms of political affiliation, gender and so on.
He said there was need to strengthen education on corruption prevention, adding that resources were needed for Zacc to effectively carry out asset recovery.
“Therefore, if we recover assets, we want to retain a certain percentage and we need legislative reforms and to mobilise development partners,” Makamure said.
Nkulumane MP Kucaca Phulu (MDC Alliance), however, feared that if Zacc was allowed to retain a certain percentage from assets recovered from corruption, they, like the Zimbabwe Republic Police spot fines, might be abused.