Editorial Comment: Good start for new ZACC team
BARELY a month after being clothed with arresting powers, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has fired warning shots, summoning Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira to assist with investigations.
It is no longer business as usual as the teethed ZACC tackles corruption head-on. A new broom surely sweeps clean. So far, so good!
Hats-off to the commission led by Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo for walking the talk on shaking big trees in the fight against corruption.
President Mnangagwa recently said the new Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) now had sharp teeth that would bite any citizen who dares engage in corrupt activities.
He gave the warning while opening the 3rd Rural District Councils chairperson indaba held by the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls.
On her appointment as ZACC chairperson recently, Justice Matanda-Moyo declared zero tolerance to corruption, vowing to bring to book all those suspected to have committed corruption-related offences.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said her commission would deal with high-profile corruption cases without fear or favour, adding that a number of investigations were already in motion.
She confirmed receipt of the latest Auditor-General’s (AG) report saying investigations had already commenced in respect of all ministries, parastatals and State entities implicated in corruption and misappropriation of funds.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the AG’s report creates the basis for investigations into corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and or any other improper conduct committed in the public sector.
True to her word, yesterday morning ZACC invited Minister Mupfumira for questioning as part of its anti-corruption drive. Game on! The war has just started, but ZACC must thoroughly investigate its cases to secure convictions and to restore public confidence in the esteemed commission.
Half-baked investigations and arresting people on mere instincts will result in unnecessary acquittals in cases where offences would have been committed. To start with, ZACC investigators should refuse to be corrupt and corrupted.
Government has a role to play in providing for the investigators through decent salaries and benefits to enable them to shun corruption.
A great job will then follow. The previous commission was known for its megaphone policy, announcing arrests, which would die a natural death. They would raise the people’s hopes, only to hear the release of the suspects on bail, removal of the suspects from remand or even an acquittal.
At the end of the day, the Commission would be blasted for being toothless and ineffective. The newly-empowered Commission with arresting powers, is expecting to yield good results in nipping the vice in the bud.
Justice Matanda-Moyo has assured whistle blowers of maximum protection. She also promised rich rewards to those who lift the lid on corruption under a raft of measures proposed by ZACC to fight festering rot in both the public and private sector.
Gone are the days when ZACC officers would seek permission from a police superintendent to set up a trap on bribery and related offences.
Involving the police in the authorisation of traps created room for leakages, thereby scuttling efforts to arrest the corrupt. Now that ZACC can set its own traps and effect arrests without the involvement of third parties, we expect improvement in the work of investigators. Government should go a step further and ensure ZACC has its own holding cells to avoid cases where they rely on the police whenever they want to lock up suspects.
To some extent, the ruling Zanu-PF’s Youth League was not far off the mark when it announced names of people believed to be acting corruptly.
On the list of those who were challenged to clear their names after being accused of corruption, was Minister Mupfumira.
President Mnangagwa, in his capacity as Zanu-PF First Secretary has tasked provinces to nominate Central Committee members into a commission of inquiry to investigate party bigwigs allegedly involved in corrupt activities.
Speaking at the 331st Ordinary Session of the Politburo yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the party will act on corruption allegations levelled against top officials recently outed by the Youth League. The Head of State and Government spoke about the current economic belt-tightening in line with austerity measures designed to bring economic turnaround.
The recommendations by the President comes after the Zanu-PF Youth League recently came out guns blazing on suspected economic saboteurs, naming and shaming bosses involved in a raft of corruption activities, leading cartels and dictating market rates in illegal foreign currency dealings, among other ills.