BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
ANTI-CORRUPTION activists say political interference has undermined the effectiveness of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) in bringing corrupt high profile individuals to book.
They say this has resulting in Zimbabwe failing to recover millions of dollars lost to graft and illicit financial flows.
This came out during a recent virtual meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association on the implications of the Sentry’s 2021 report, which exposed high-profile corruption in the country.
The virtual meeting was attended by legal expert Alex Magaisa and civic society activists, who bemoaned lack of judicial independence in prosecuting high-profile cases as stipulated in the Constitution, in order to eradicate corruption in the country.
“The dialogue noted that political interference in the operations of anti-corruption institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) undermines the effectiveness of institutions and legislation responsible for combating corruption,” Zimcodd said in a statement.
“There is a need for government to demonstrate political will to arrest and prosecute perpetrators and guarantee the independence of the responsible institutions.”
Panellists also raised concern on inequalities in the taxation systems in the country, where ordinary citizens were obliged to pay taxes while the politically connected elite is exempted.
“Government should not lose potential revenue to rich mining companies as Zimbabweans need that money to survive the devastating COVID-19 pandemic as well as widespread hunger and mass unemployment,” they said.
“Income and profits from mineral wealth are sovereign wealth belonging to all Zimbabweans and government as custodian of that wealth should make decisions that serve the interests and benefit the citizens. Financial policies and tax decisions should be subject to public consultation and objective scrutiny for transparency and accountability.”
Last week, Zacc announced that this year, it was investigating 43 cases for asset recovery, with the value of assets identified amounting to US$24 million.
But during the Zimcodd virtual meeting, panellists said political will was needed to bring the culprits to book in order to assist the efforts of the anti-corruption institutions which were proving to be in vain.
“The family dialogue concluded that the only way that the fight for corruption can be actualised and made practical in Zimbabwe is through political will and leadership of the President, Cabinet and other key institutions mandated with addressing cases of corruption,” the panellists said.
“Although various calls have been made at the highest level to try and fight corruption, not enough action has been taken to address the pandemic (corruption), and as long as there is no action at the highest level, there is fear that there is no resolution that will come from the current leadership.”
Several high-profile people, who include former ministers Priscah Mupfumira (Public Service), Ignatius Chombo (Local Government), Obadiah Moyo (Health) and other top government officials have been arraigned before the courts over graft charges.
Their matters are still pending at the courts.
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