Don’t drop your guard, Zacc urges perm secs

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
ZIMBABWE Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo has urged secretaries of ministries not to succumb to undue pressure from Cabinet ministers resulting in them misappropriating public funds.

Matanda-Moyo said this last Wednesday during a virtual roundtable meeting hosted by Zacc for secretaries of ministries and executive secretaries of commissions.

The Zacc boss warned that secretaries would be prosecuted for abuse of funds despite having acted on orders from their respective ministers.

“In essence, the management and disbursement of public resources allocated to a ministry by any Appropriation Act or other enactment shall be undertaken by the accounting officer in consultation with the appropriate minister,” Matanda-Moyo said.

“The Public Funds Management Act does not provide measures that protect the accounting officers from undue influence. A minister is a politician, and some politicians have questionable behaviour. It is, therefore, not a defence in any court of law for you as a permanent secretary to say that you were following an instruction which is unlawful.”

She bemoaned abuse of public funds under the guise of donations, where public entities make payments towards goods and services that are completely  at variance with the core businesses of the ministries.

“We are all aware of the reports by the Auditor-General (Mildred Chiri) which she has been producing annually for years.

“These reports present a big picture of the state of corruption in the public sector.

“They disclose the lack of proper controls in the public institutions which provide a conducive environment for public officials to engage in acts of corruption, fraud, theft, money-laundering and other criminal offences to take place,” Matanda-Moyo said.

“It is very unfortunate that these reports have not received the serious attention they deserve from the institutions audited. Why I say so is because there are issues that keep recurring every year showing that corruption is systematic.

“For instance, the payment by State entities of millions of dollars in advance for goods or services which are never delivered and no measures for recovery have been put in place.”

During the roundtable meeting, Zacc announced that it was embarking on a training programme as a corruption preventive measure to equip both private and public institutions with skills to combat corruption. The anti-corruption institution is targeting to prosecute 180 cases of corruption this year and claims to have successfully investigated and arrested over 100 individuals through tip-offs by whistle-blowers.

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