Govt corruption: 2 644 employees arrested in the last 10 years

 Police have arrested a total of 2 644 corruption cases involving government employees in the last 10 years, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has said. 

Of the 2 644 cases, 589 have been convicted in the last 10 years, Ziyambi told legislators In Parliament on Wednesday.

“The police received a total of 2 644 corruption cases involving Government employees and former employees in the last 10 years. The accused were convicted in 589 of the cases, signifying 22 percent of the total figure. Cases of Criminal Abuse of Office dominated the list, signifying 62 percent of the total,” Ziyambi said.

This came after Members of Parliament requested statistics of government and former employees, who were implicated, convicted and sentenced for corruption or abuse of office on an annual basis during the last ten years and to state measures being taken to prevent such occurrences.

Ziyambi’s modest figure was accompanied by a table that displayed that of bribery cases 923 counts were recorded and 271 were convicted.

He added that 56 counts were recorded for corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal while 10 were convicted.

In so far as cases of corruptly concealing from a principal a personal interest in a transaction were concerned 21 counts were recorded while seven where convicted.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, fighting corruption is one of the key pillars of the Second Republic and President Mnangagwa has stated that his administration’s goal is to build a new Zimbabwe based on transparency, accountability and hard work,” he said.

“Therefore, Government has already taken the initiative and established institutions to deal with corruption. This has seen the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Courts. In addition, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has since formed the Police Anti-Corruption Unit under the Criminal Investigations Department to deal with these cases.”

Ziyambi further added that government is also capacitating the Zimbabwe Judicial Commission, the National Prosecution Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission, “with the requisite skills to investigate and prosecute crimes related to corruption.”

“Similarly, Government is expediting the establishment of a Commercial Crimes Court to fast-track the prosecution of such offenders.”

Ziyambi spoke as corruption in Zimbabwe has become endemic within its political, private and civil sectors.

 Zimbabwe ranks joint 154th out of 176 countries in the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking it alongside Turkmenistan.

The survey marked an increase in corruption since 1999, when the country ranked 4.1.

In 2011, former finance Minister Tendai Biti claimed that at least US$1 billion in diamond-related revenue owed to the national treasury remains unaccounted for.

Biti blamed corruption, misappropriation and a lack of transparency for the systematic underselling of diamonds and the failure to recoup losses.

Government has in the last 10 years also come under criticism for making personal benefits by assigning lucrative concessions in the Marange diamond fields to Chinese firms and the Zimbabwean military.

However, some legal experts questioned Ziyambi’s submissions arguing that the conviction rate has been low and the statistics availed by the minister were ballooned.