Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Prosecutor-General to seize assets hidden outside Prosecutor-General Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo (right) and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson Mr Michael Reza follow proceedings at the Financial and Asset Recovery Training workshop in Harare yesterday

Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter

All corruptly acquired assets hidden outside the country will soon be identified and seized as the Government steps up efforts to save an estimated US$1,8 billion lost annually to graft.

Currently, the Government has only been forfeiting local assets with criminals hiding ill-gotten wealth outside the country and getting away with it.

This will soon change as all proceeds of corruption will be tracked and repatriated.

The National Prosecuting Authority and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday assured the nation that while criminals were getting sophisticated by the day, the Government was equipping its law enforcement agencies to deal with all cases of corruption.

Better coordination between agencies such as ZACC, NPA, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, police and the President’s Department, had since led to the recovery of US$100 million worth of assets believed to be the proceeds of corruption.

Officiating at a capacity building workshop on financial investigations and asset recovery facilitated by the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR), Prosecutor-General Justice Loice Matanda Moyo said it was no longer business as usual to those who used to corruptly acquire assets outside the country.

PG Matanda-Moyo said it was pleasing to note that some of the topics to be covered during the workshop included financial investigative approaches, a practical asset tracing exercise and mutual legal assistance amongst others.

“As Zimbabwe, we have not started repatriation of stolen assets which are hidden outside our jurisdiction. It’s high time that we start doing so.

“In order to do that, we need to understand mutual legal assistance and international cooperation. I am very happy that such topics are going to be covered during the workshop.

“It is my sincere hope that by the end of this workshop, we would have gained more skills that are in tandem with our day-to-day duties.”

PG Matanda-Moyo said corruption knew no limits and existed everywhere, regardless of the level of economic development or democracy. It was time to cut the red tape on illicit financial flows and ensure that looters were not left to enjoy the proceeds of crime.

Corruption was a global menace that was transnational in nature and it took collective efforts at both local and international levels to win the fight against it. “There is a need for a well coordinated approach to the fight against corruption and the recovery of the proceeds of crime and the capacitation of the institutions involved in the fight.

“Cooperation between stakeholders is imperative and the gains made by working cooperatively will far outpace what either institution could accomplish alone.

“It is against this backdrop that we have invited to the workshop, representatives from all stakeholders in the asset recovery value chain.”

PG Matanda-Moyo said corruption remained one of the greatest barricades to the attainment of Vision 2030.

“Corruption knows no boundaries. It is estimated that Zimbabwe loses about US$1,8 billion annually due to corruption.

“Such illicit financial flows are unacceptable and bleed the economy of revenue meant to promote sustainable socio-economic development and the betterment of the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans.

“It is time that we totally eradicate corruption in Zimbabwe and recover the stolen assets. As a result of these illicit flows, governments are left with little or no financial resources to channel towards development and the provision of basic services such as health and education.”

Speaking at the same event, ZACC chairperson Mr Michael Reza thanked ICAR for dedicating time and resources to strengthen the capacities of anti-corruption agencies to recover illicit assets and proceeds of criminal activities.

“There is no doubt the workshop is a much needed one to build and improve the capacities of individuals and institutions which are mandated with the duty to fight against corruption in our country.

“In a world that is dynamic with crimes that are dynamic, as a result of several factors such as technological advancements, constant capacity building remains key in order to stay alive to complex crimes.”

Mr Reza said corruption was a global phenomenon that required global solutions due to the globalised nature of its activities and networks of criminals involved. “It takes joint efforts at local and international levels to win the fight against this menace and successfully recover the proceeds of crime globally.”

“Corruption is a global menace that needs to be cut from its roots. Corruption and illicit financial flows are amongst the greatest threats that we are facing. They are endemic, systemic and have permeated all known boundaries,” he said.

Mr Reza said not only had corruption and illicit financial flows undermined economic development but they had served as a barrier to democratic development.

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