Anti-graft dragnet must catch big fish

Source: Anti-graft dragnet must catch big fish –Newsday Zimbabwe

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power on the back of a November 2017 coup promising to end corruption.

Immediately, questions were raised why only politicians or some people perceived to be in the wrong basket were being arrested.

To add onto that, when the military intervened, they said they wanted to deal with “criminals” surrounding the late former President Robert Mugabe.

It is, therefore, rather questionable that people are being arrested over “small crimes” like stealing beans, rice and television sets, yet the big fish are let to walk scot free.

Someone was caught at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with 6kg of gold and is yet to stand trial.

The expectation was that the new administration would go to the root of the corruption that Mugabe allowed to thrive during his time in power.

The nation expected to hear about the arrest of people involved in minerals looting and those who externalised large amounts of forex, but have not faced their day in court.

With each passing day, the anti-corruption crusade now resembles a political witch hunt, more than a legitimate anti-graft campaign.The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) must also be seen to be doing its work quietly and independently, without being seen to be used by one political grouping or the other.

There are many cases that Zacc has brought to the courts in recent days, but it must not be seen as a vindictive exercise, but rather a legitimate legal route to end corruption.

There are many cases that have been reported in the past and the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s annual reports are a good place to start in the fight against corruption. – Angry

Equip ZRP to fight armed robbers

GOVERNMENT should channel more resources to equip the Zimbabwe Republic Police as armed robberies have drastically increased.

Businessmen, especially those in rural areas like in Rushinga, now live in fear.

Rushinga district has only one station vehicle and the vehicle is sometimes used by Mt Darwin police, leaving Rushinga Police Station with no vehicle to use in cases of emergencies.

If an armed robbery is reported, there will be no vehicle at the station and the complainant has to use his own vehicle to fetch the police.

There is need for rapid reaction units in the police force, equipped with vehicles and a hotline at each station.

The courts are also letting the police down by giving bail to these armed criminals. Most of these armed robberies are committed by people on bail, already facing similar charges . – Alexio Rashirai

Corruption in councils has become a service delivery cancer

WITH the Zimbabwean economy in depression, corruption has become part of the system and almost expected way of doing business especially in the public sector.

Corruption and corruption-related allegations have surfaced in many councils with the creation and allocation of housing and commercial stands on public land being the main source of allegations and large numbers of staff have been suspended while others awaiting trial.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission 2021 report shows quite several corrupt activities local authorities engage in, ranging from illegal sale of land and stands, dominating shady deals that council officials engage in, gross financial mismanagement of council affairs and abuse and mismanagement of ratepayers’ funds and abuse of office, fraud, negligence and general ineptitude by councillors running different local authorities.

Corruption exists in many forms at various levels of service delivery. It normally occurs in the form of embezzlement, procurement scam, extortion, bribery, fraud, kickback, gifts and tips, nepotism and tribalism in recruitment, appointment, or promotion, misappropriation of public funds, institutionalised, and leaking tender information to friends and relatives.

In most countries, albeit to different degrees, the public sector can be a crucial player in the economy.

When government or specific government agencies operate as clients by purchasing goods or services (public procurement), corruption risks are often high.

This can be due to a lack of oversight, high discretion in the public sector, high levels of nepotism, a concentration of money and influence, the high volume of funds involved, or a combination there of (Transparency International 2013).

The main factors that cause corruption in service delivery include poor governance, economic hardship, and weak accountability systems.

The Auditor-General’s report revealed that in the 2018 financial year, only three out of 92 local authorities had their financial statements audited and reported on.

Seventy local authorities did not submit their financial statements for audit, so their affairs are largely unknown, but it is highly suggestive of many bad things.

Audits recently released exposed rot in local authorities and other parastatals and ministries.

Some local authorities are not co-operating with the Auditor-General’s Office, and they do not avail financial statements in time.

Furthermore, the audits observed loose internal accounting controls which lend themselves to possible leakages.

Governance and service delivery issues dominated the reports, with some councils operating without key policy documents, failure to review and approve payroll prior to processing, absence of control over contracted out services, improper management of council assets, development of and without approval of the responsible minister and other ineffective control systems. – Zimcodd