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Economic Crimes Court vital for Zim

PLANS to establish an Economic Crimes Court in Zimbabwe must be implemented with speed as the country continues to be prejudiced of billions of dollars through white-collar crime.



tica, sans-serif”>I say this because efforts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to combat economic crimes such as the externalisation of foreign currency or financial sector corruption seem to be coming to nought.


Indeed, the beginning of the year 2004 saw many bankers and business executives who had been involved in wayward activities being whipped into line. Arrests were made, with several individuals being remanded in custody. These efforts continued well into the current year, with the CFX saga still fresh in our minds.


The weakness of the current system is revealed by the fact that to date, no major conviction has been made as cases drag on for several months. The backlog of such crimes continues to worsen, a reflection that courts seem to lack the capacity to deal with them effectively.


On some occasions culprits accused of siphoning billions of dollars are granted insignificant amounts of money as bail despite the gravity of their crimes.


It seems that such inconsistencies can best be dealt with by an Economic Crimes Court whose staff is specialised to comprehend the severity of such wrongs. The court can also be strengthened by ensuring that police departments countrywide have economic crimes units which are manned by those with expertise in dealing with white-collar crime.


In August 1999 for example, South Africa established the specialised Commercial Crime Court while Nigeria established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2002 to combat white-collar crime.


I think that it is high time Zimbabwe did the same!


Timothy Chiruva,

Harare.



Timothy Chiruva,

Sunridge, Harare.

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