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Bigwigs threatening whistle-blowers

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
SENIOR government officials facing corruption charges are allegedly victimising whistle-blowers and their subordinates to stop them from testifying, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loice-Matanda Moyo has revealed.

Addressing stakeholders at the Zacc annual general meeting held in the capital yesterday, Matanda-Moyo said some senior government officials were also refusing to release financial statements for scrutiny to hide their corrupt activities.

“The commission continues to face challenges with victimisation of whistle-blowers, witnesses and staff during investigations. This is a serious concern to the commission,” she said.

The commission has since approached government authorities requesting urgency in the crafting and enactment of a law protecting whistle-blowers.

“I am happy that principles have been adopted and the Bill is being drafted,” Matanda-Moyo said.

“Whistle-blowers require protection especially when dealing with sensitive high-profile cases, moreso involving politicians and senior government officials. Normally, there is a lot of victimisation. In some organisations, witnesses were fired after testifying in court.

“For example, at the University of Zimbabwe, after they testified on a certain matter against a senior official at the university, the whole department was closed and they were moved to various departments where they do not have expertise.”

Zacc last year revealed that government bigwigs were the major perpetrators of corruption in the country, making it difficult for ordinary citizens to report them because there was no law protecting whistle-blowers.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he will not relent in the fight against corruption, but critics have said there is no political will to fight the vice because there have been few convictions.

Under Mnangagwa’s leadership, corruption has emerged as the main obstacle to economic stability and democratic progress, according to critics.

Some corrupt officials have also been linked to the First Family.

Other critics have said the anti-corruption fight had also assumed political factional lines.

Zacc said it managed to file 18 cases under asset recovery for assets worth US$7 million in 2021.

It then forwarded the cases to the National Prosecuting Authority for confiscation, but only one confiscation order was successfully granted after an appeal to the Supreme Court.

  • Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangwaya

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