via Corruption probe: Cast net wide | The Zimbabwean by Editor 25.09.13
There is need to cast the net wide in the fight against corruption, which has not only eaten into the social fabric, but has had far-reaching economic consequences.
President Robert Mugabe talked passionately about corruption and the need to stamp it out last week. His remarks are welcome, but a lot needs to be done if the enormous problem of corruption in our society is to be effectively dealt with.
While Mugabe singled out Goodwills Masimirembwa as one prominent person who needed to be probed, our position is that the probe needs to rope in many other people in positions of influence.
Just last year, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was investigating three government ministers, Nicholas Goche, Saviour Kasukuwere and Obert Mpofu, but the probe was frustrated by officials in a bizarre move that saw members of ZACC being turned into suspects.
While ZACC commissioners and members of the commission’s secretariat must not be treated as sacred cows, the probe against them, launched just as they were investigating the ministers, smells fishy.
It would be desirable to revive this probe. And it should also include Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, who has been named as having unjustly amassed enormous wealth. But these names are a mere tip of the iceberg. We urge ZACC and other law enforcements agents to dig deep and sniff out those who have been involved in corruption right across the board, but particularly in the mining sector and in the acquisition of properties.
The anti-corruption investigations must not be limited to public office holders, but should extend to the private sector. It is clear that for corruption to reach the alarming levels that we have witnessed over the years, it is because of an intricate relationship between the private and public sectors.
For the anti-graft fight to succeed, ZACC must be adequately empowered and resourced, and should work closely with the police. Hitherto, there has been a discord between the two institutions for reasons we are yet to unpack, making investigations extremely difficult. It is vital that the two must enjoy unadulterated independence. In the past, they have been crippled by too much interference, particularly from the executive. There should be no sacred cows at all.
Similarly, the National Prosecuting Authority must resist undue interference and conduct itself in a professional manner, without fear or favour.
It seems the reported abuse of the Community Development Fund by Members of Parliament has been taken off the radar. We demand to know what happened to those that are alleged to have swindled the fund.
Investigations in this regard need to be reactivated, because the former and current MPs fingered in the scam were using taxpayers’ money.