Anti-graft body seeks prosecution powers

29 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Anti-graft body seeks prosecution powers Justice Matanda-Moyo

The Herald

Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) wants to be given prosecution powers to take cases it is investigating to court in order to speed up the process.

Zacc argues that speeding up the prosecution of cases will enhance public confidence in the Government’s resolve to fight corruption.

This year, more than 180 investigations were finished and 10 dockets submitted for prosecution but only four reached the final judgment, all with convictions.

In her end-of-year statement yesterday, Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said investigators were concerned with the slow pace that cases were taken up for prosecution.

“In the area of investigations, the commission has surpassed the annual target of 180 dockets submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution. The commission remains concerned with the speed at which the cases are processed through the criminal justice system,” she said.

“We have been engaging the National Prosecution Authority and Judicial Service Commission to implement necessary reforms in order to enhance public confidence in the fight against corruption. I am pleased to note that we are finding each other in that regard.

“The four convictions so far this year arising from our dockets fall far below our expectations given the number of high profile arrests we made during the year. We continue to engage the relevant authorities to be granted prosecution powers in order to complement the work of the NPA, without infringing on its constitutional mandate.”

Justice Matanda-Moyo warned people against harassing witnesses saying the law will catch up with them.

She thanked Zimbabweans for their continued support in exposing cases of corruption or possible cases that needed investigation.

“We received an overwhelming number of reports from the public which we followed up with telling results. There is significant progress as far as enactment of a robust whistle-blower protection legislative framework is concerned.

“This overdue piece of legislation should offer maximum protection to our valuable witnesses and whistle-blowers. I would like to issue a strong warning to those bent on harassing and victimising witnesses that the long arm of the law will descend on them without fear or favour,” she said.

Treasury, she said, had allocated ZACC $913 million under the 2022 National Budget, which she said was a significant rise from this year’s $355 million. The funds will see the commission accelerate its decentralisation programme, acquire capital equipment and recruit more staff.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Government’s financial support was evidence enough of its commitment to root out corruption.

Zacc was not just concerned with catching the corrupt, but in preventing corruption in the first place.

The commission had carried out extensive and comprehensive system checks in most local authorities in order to ramp up the prevention of corruption, culminating in the signing of the implementation matrices with eight local authorities namely Chegutu Municipality, Karoi Town Council, Makonde Rural District Council, Mudzi RDC, Mutoko RDC, Norton Town Council, Umzingwane RDC and Zaka RDC.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the signing of the matrices demonstrated the local authorities’ acceptance of the compliance spot-check findings and recommendations, and affirmed their commitment and obligation to implement the recommendations within the agreed timeframes.

“The local authorities are being monitored through the compliance monitoring dashboard. I am happy to note that most of the local authorities are aggressively implementing the recommendations,” she said.

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