BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) says the private sector is the major culprit in corruption as players are evading taxes and inflating figures, among other ills causing serious damage to the economy.
Presenting a paper during the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) 2021 annual congress in Victoria Falls yesterday, Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo said corruption was causing serious damage to the economy and should be nipped in the bud.
“I think the private sector is the major culprit of corruption in Zimbabwe,” Matanda-Moyo said.
“We only started in government because we realised that if we started with the private sector, there was going to be an outcry to say, why start with us not the government. Private sector’s corruption is the one which is really causing damage to the economy.”
She said most companies were evading paying taxes through understating the value of goods.
“That is why you misstate and then again you start saying this machinery cost US$20 000 when it cost US$2 000. When you export you then minimise the prices. Why, because you do not want to pay the duty associated with that exportation,” she said.
Matanda-Moyo said they carried out an investigation into the export of tobacco to the Netherlands and found out that tobacco companies misstated export figures.
The Zacc boss said corruption was costing the world about US$1 trillion through bribes while an estimated US$2,6 trillion is stolen annually through Acorruption.
She said 5% of the global gross domestic product, according to the United Nations, was lost in corruption and 10 times the amount of official assistance is corruption.
In Zimbabwe, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, we are losing between US$1,7 billion and US$1,9 billion through illicit dealings annually.
“We really need to do something about it,” she said, adding that “we are now coming to the private sector. I think we have already started arresting companies for smuggling of goods”.
Matanda-Moyo revealed that chief executives of some banks in Zimbabwe were not banking money in the very banks they were leading.
“We carried out that survey. So, if a CEO of a bank does not have confidence in his or her own institution, who then is going to bank money in those banks? Nobody,” she said.
She said since 2019, Zacc has had 12 convictions on corruption cases, recovered 80 vehicles and one house, adding that it was also assisting the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to recover taxes.
Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said to recover economically amid COVID-19, Parliament needed to enact legislation that promoted a digital economy.
ZNCC president Tinashe Manzungu said the 7,8% economic growth forecast for the country was being threatened by a volatile parallel market exchange
The ZNCC conference, which started yesterday and ends tomorrow, is running under the theme Managing Disruptive change.