Zacc is all bark and no bite

Source: Zacc is all bark and no bite – NewsDay Zimbabwe

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has given all sorts of warnings to deal with corruption in Zimbabwe until its face turned blue but clearly, it is the case of all foam and no beer.

Since its inception, Zacc has been accused of fronting a political elite and being used as a weapon to silence critics of the status quo with the respect of citizens apparently dwindling by each day.

Observers have continuously argued that the anti-graft commission has sharp teeth against those out of favour with the status quo while they suddenly turn blunt on the real culprits.

Its latest warning that it will go after local banks allegedly providing “haven to stash dirty money” by corrupt individuals is exciting but it ends there.

This is a problem Zimbabwe has faced for long and Zacc has been an aloof observer of the menace doing nothing to combat it.

Why now? This is without doubt the question everyone is asking knowing full well that the southern African country’s banking system is said to be among those with the greatest risk of being used by money-launderers on the continent.

The threat by Zacc, as presented by its deputy chairperson Phineas Murapa, is undoubtedly tough, good and extremely captivating talk for audience in an air-conditioned rendezvous but the fear is it never goes beyond that.

Indeed banks have been allowed for long to countenance serious crimes with basics like “know your client” policy being ignored, exposing them to money laundering.

There hasn’t been clear monitoring from those that should and now that we know Zacc is frowning upon such, should we expect anything better?

What we know now, and thanks to Murapa, is that banks are not doing due diligence in engaging investors coming to Zimbabwe and in his own words, that is a known act of neglect.

That understood, but the question remains why Zacc has been quiet about that and only choosing to speak at such indabas what is music to the audience’s ears without acting on it.

Murapa stated the obvious but chilling fact that many banks continue to provide the corrupt with a haven to stash dirty money, adding that this loophole was due to both overall lax in enforcement of anti-money-laundering regulations and the way that banks currently undertake due diligence on clients.

He added that the public was losing confidence in the financial services sector due to its complicity in financial crimes taking place within banks.

That Zacc has received such reports is reason enough for it to act and not just threaten to act as it always does.

We need confidence in the banking sector hence they cannot be citadels of nefarious activities.

Questioning the characters of bank executives involved in the alleged scandals is not good enough Murapa, what is best is to deal with them now.

That Zacc knows they are stashing money in offshore accounts is enough for investigations to begin now and end with the culprits in the dock.

Also, that central bank governor John Mangudya attended the same indaba and is aware of the rot in the sector is good enough so that Zacc and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe can team up to deal with the menace for good.

That in September this year, the Basel Anti-Money-Laundering Index-listed Zimbabwe as one of the countries whose banking systems were at the greatest risk of being used for money-laundering is a concern even greater and action cannot be delayed any further.