via Corruption: Chinamasa says govt clueless 24/09/2014
FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has made startling claims that government was too incompetent to tackle rampant corruption, insisting the crime was even too sophisticated for the country’s law enforcers to detect.
Chinamasa was addressing diplomats, MPs and government officials who attended Tuesday’s interactive breakfast meeting between industrialists and the IMF representative to Zimbabwe, Demenico Fanezzi.
The Zanu PF-led government’s commitment to fighting graft has been questioned after a campaign to expose greedy and corrupt public enterprise bosses resulted in a couple of sackings but no arrests.
The exercise soon lost steam after Vice President Joice Mujuru condemned it, claiming it was part of a campaign by treacherous individuals who had infiltrated Zanu PF and were trying to destroy the party from within.
In his opening address at Tuesday’s breakfast meeting, the treasury chief wailed about the multi-lateral institution being overly biased against Zimbabwe through withholding of crucial balance of payment support to the troubled country, but made little mention of corruption, which critics say continuously undermines economic recovery.
Challenged during a plenary session to make a solid commitment outside the usual rhetoric by the authorities on stamping out corruption, Chinamasa chose to misfire.
“Corruption is very difficult,” he said, “I always explain it this way, the briber and the bribed have benefited; they will not readily come forward to report themselves to the police. They will not.
“Unless the deal goes wrong one of them may go to the police to spill the beans but only then after he has got guarantee that he will not be prosecuted.
“The point l am making is that corruption is a very difficult crime to investigate and to effect arrest and, this is my suspicion, some of the people who will come to my office complaining about corruption are the very people who are corrupt so they just hide their corruption under noises about fighting corruption.”
According to the 2013 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Zimbabwe was ranked number 157 out of 177 countries covered by the survey.
But the former Justice Minister said going straight after corrupt individuals would not make much of an impact and suggested introducing “transparency” within the country’s systems to deter the corrupt.
“It doesn’t help of course because you really want to see someone arrested but when you ask ‘is there is anyone to come forward to report corruption’ – no one does and you know the police, the prosecutor general will require evidence, you take to court evidence, not suspicion.
President Robert Mugabe is accused of presiding over a patronage system that has seen his lieutenants and military chiefs involved in unbridled corruption.
Zimbabweans were last year dumbfounded when the authorities terrorised Anti-Corruption Commission officials and forced some into hiding after the anti-graft body dared to investigate then Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Saviour Kasukuwere, who was in charge of indigenisation.