Editorial Comment: It may be time for Economic Crimes court

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Editorial Comment: It may be time for Economic Crimes court President Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday lived up to his promise to name and shame unrepentant individuals and companies that externalised funds.

We salute him for walking the talk, a development that has boosted investor confidence in his administration.

The President released a list comprising of 1 844 externalisers responsible for keeping $827 million that could benefit the economy, outside our borders.

Given the long list of names and the fact that close to a quarter of the country’s national Budget remains outstanding, it may be high time Government set up a special Economic Crimes Court to deal with economic breaches to put a stop to the rot that has compounded our economic woes.

Government’s anti-graft drive has revealed the ugly face of business which needs to be nipped in the bud.

An increasing number of economic felonies are being unearthed and they may overwhelm the courts as currently constituted.

The white collar misdemeanours that involved the externalisation of huge amounts of money impacted negatively on the lives of the majority of innocent people who put their trust in the various institutions.

The economy and politics are inextricably linked as they drive the modern nation-state, the prevalence of criminals in the economic sector can severely undermine the legitimacy and authority of the state as the hardships so generated are always blamed on the state by the populace.

More so criminal elements are usually amoral, devoid of any principles thus leaving the economy at the mercy of such a hideous bunch exposes the country to the machinations of those willing to manipulate the economic base for political ends, since to criminals; even the state has a price.

The mop up in the financial services sector at the beginning of the millennium revealed that the lack of deterrent measures was responsible for the intransigence of a lot of banks which deviated from their core-business and speculated with clients’ investments, practices which severely undermined the banks’ liquidity positions.

Falsification of financial results to hoodwink not only clients, but also other business partners should be condemned in the strongest terms, as it can bring down even clean businessmen who enter into partnerships with the supposedly sound financial concerns.

Some of the firms on the list of externalisers are beneficiaries of the Government’s indigenisation drive, it is akin to biting the hand that feeds one.

Some banks were found to have extensively under invoiced earnings and opened off shore accounts.

Externalisation of earnings is tantamount to repatriation of earnings by foreign banks, which is what indigenisation aims to fight by empowering locals who should invest all earnings within the nation’s borders.

The greed of a few should never be allowed to disenfranchise the majority, we thus call for the speedy establishment of the special court.

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