Zacc probes govt ministries

Source: Zacc probes govt ministries | Theindependent (Zimbabwe)

BRIAN CHITEMBA
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating government ministries named in the latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report accused of misappropriating public funds with an aim to prosecute the transgressors.

This was said by Zacc spokesperson John Makamure yesterday — a week after the Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri released an explosive report containing startling revelations of how Treasury made foreign direct payments on behalf of government ministries amounting to a jaw-dropping ZW$18,9 billion (US$300 million) without parliamentary approval.

Mildred Chiri

Chiri’s 2020 report on Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts indicated that taxpayers’ money was used to buy vehicles, laptops, Samsung Galaxy tablets and school desks which were never delivered.

Over the years, the AG has exposed the massive rot in government departments and ministries but no corrective measures have been taken to address the anomalies.

Zacc has also been criticised of failing to adequately deal with public sector corruption raised by Chiri’s office.

However, Makamure told the Zimbabwe Independent that those caught on the wrong of the law will face the music.

He said: “The Auditor-General’s report is an important document for the commission as it provides vital information on incidents of corruption in the public sector. As such we take it seriously.

“Our teams will be analysing the latest report by the Auditor-General document in detail and make follow ups on issues that are of interest to us in the execution of our mandate.

“We fully appreciate the depth of corruption in the country, and we are intent on ensuring that we play the leading role in dealing with the scourge. We appreciate the role of other players such as the Auditor-General in exposing these cases of corruption and it is our promise to the nation that we will not rest until we bring to book those that are caught on the wrong side of the law,” Makamure added.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has in recent years vowed to deal with corruption as it is one of the cancers robbing the economy of billions of dollars through illicit financial flows (IFF).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

In February,  Mnangagwa indicated to former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor-general (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi in a meeting that he was about to start processes to fire him over alleged lethargy in dealing with corruption. This led to Hodzi opting to resign on medical grounds.

According to a study by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Financial Integrity, Zimbabwe has lost over US$12 billion in the past three decades through IFFs.

African Development Bank

Makamure said the anti-graft body was tracking ill-gotten wealth and seizing assets with 18 case files with properties  valued at US$17 million now being handled by the NPA, which has a statutory mandate to make such applications to the High Court.

The court will then make a determination on the confiscation of the assets and recently one civil confiscation order was successfully granted after appeal to the Supreme Court for civil forfeiture of immovable property valued at US$250 000.

“The property is now under the management of asset management unit in terms of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act,” Makamure said.

The Zacc spokesperson explained that there was no acrimony or poor working relations between the commission and the NPA, saying it was a misconception deliberately peddled by some sections of society that are not keen to see the anti-corruption fight succeed.

“There has never been any strain in our relations because our mandates are clear and as separate as day and night. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s mandate ends at arresting while the National Prosecution Authority’s focus is to prosecute,” Makamure said.

“When we refer our cases to the NPA, officers from the two organisations jointly vet the cases to come up with a strong case that can stand scrutiny before a court of law.

“This year alone, through this collaboration, we have already witnessed the high-profile conviction of former Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga and the incarceration of three Karoi Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) examiners who were issuing out learners’ licence certificates to failed candidates.

“That speaks volumes about how strong the cases we bring before the courts are. It is also testimony of the fact that the two organisations execute their mandate without fear or prejudice. What is important for citizens to take note of is that the anti-corruption fight is not for one institution.”

“It is a collective fight. Zacc alone cannot do it but results will be achieved through working together with other key institutions, such as the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police), NPA, civic society, inter alia.”

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