‘Too many cooks’ stifle fight against corruption

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Zimbabwe’s bid to eradicate extensive corruption and foster sustainable and inclusive development is being undone by anti-graft bodies who are fighting on various fronts for the same purpose and ultimately clashing over each other.

The fight against corruption is being stifled by inconsistencies in the execution of duties, policy discord and general abuse of the arms mandated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to bring an end to the scourge of corruption in Zimbabwe.

Investigations by the Zim Morning Post revealed that officials running the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) as well as the Police Anti-Corruption Unit (Pacu) are dealing a massive blow to the fight against corruption.

Upon his ascension to power Mnangagwa quickly assembled SACU, housed in the Office of the President and mandated the unit to investigate the extensive rot that rocked the late Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Sacu lived to its billing coming up with a list of companies that externalized billions of dollars during Mugabe’s era.

Upon its establishment, Sacu’s overall objective was “to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the national mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption in accordance with the anti-corruption strategy.”

The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with Zacc and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), assist Zacc and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and considerations of corruption dockets, subject to the issuance of Authority to prosecute by the prosecutor general.

Sacu also went on to play a pivotal role in investigating high profile corruption cases as it set the ball rolling for Zacc, a constitutional commission, mandated to investigate and fight corruption.

In July 2019 Mnangagwa appointed the Zacc commission headed by Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo. The mandate and its mission was to aggressively fight corruption. Zacc has arrested several high profile officials including former Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira, former Health minister Obadiah Moyo and several private sector business personal who are facing corruption charges.

Discord

Analysts have always argued that there has been discord in how the anti-corruption units operate especially on which unit should investigate, which unit should prepare dockets and which unit should prosecute.

“We often here of arrests having been made but the cases that come to court are too weak resulting in the culprits being freed,” said one analyst who requested anonymity.

“At one time there were calls by Zacc to be awarded prosecuting powers so that it brings its cases to finality because it says those responsible for prosecution are not doing their best.

“Zacc argues that prosecutorial powers will enable it to expeditiously process graft cases through established Anti-Corruption Courts,” the analyst opined.

There have been clashes on arresting of the accused between Zacc and Sacu.

“At times a person is arrested by Sacu which then hands over the matter to the police without the knowledge of Zacc. When Zacc is asked they profess ignorance not only of the arrest but the whole matter which will be under investigation. This compromises the two bodies’ work and the fight against corruption,” added the source.

Extensive corruption in Government entities is currently scaring off much-needed and honest investors, eroding public trust in government, increasing economic inequalities, and fuelling conflicts.

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