‘Ministries dodge Zacc probe’

Loice Matanda Moyo

GOVERNMENT ministries are reportedly refusing to release information required for investigation of graft cases, in the process frustrating and delaying the finalisation of cases brought to the courts, NewsDay Weekender has learnt.

This was revealed on Thursday in Harare at the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) steering committee third quarter meeting chaired by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

In the report, the NACS subcommittee said line ministries and government departments were not cooperating on investigations.

“We are facing challenges of delays in submission of procedures in corruption cases by ministries and governments,” the report read.

The committee recommended promulgation of laws to prosecute officials who fail to timeously provide information requested for purposes of investigating corruption cases.

It also called for dissemination of circulars setting the timelines within which responses should be submitted.

“Seven days is the recommended maximum number of days within which a response should be received up to request.”

Auditor-General Mildred Chiri has each year exposed how the country was losing billions of public funds due to corrupt activities and financial leakages at government ministries and State entities.

According to her reports, many ministries and State-owned companies have also not been submitting their books of accounts for audit, raising fears of deep -seated corruption in those entities.

Chiri has exposed weak implementation of the Public Finance Management Act, currency confusion, corruption and non-compliance with the Auditor-General’s audit recommendations.

Other public finance watchdogs such as the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development have also raised similar concerns.

In 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo for corruptly awarding a multi-million-dollar contract for COVID-19 medical supplies. Moyo, was, however, later acquitted of the charges.

Between July and November, the NACS committee reported that it had seized vehicles valued at least US$75 000 from some government officials suspected to be proceeds of crime.

At the meeting, Zacc reported that corrupt officials were registering properties obtained through corruption as trusts and under different names to evade tracing.

“There is a need to migrate to e-registration of all title deeds and trusts,” Zacc said.

“Zacc recommends for the recruitment of valuators as they are very crucial in the execution of asset recovery investigation for valuation of seized assets awaiting determination by the High Court. Currently, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works is assisting with property evaluators who at times had competing priorities.”

Between July and October this year, the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe secured forfeiture orders of property worth US$5,6 million, while cases of property worth US$23,7 million are still pending.

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