‘Zim lacks political will to fight corruption’

Ray-Ndhlukula.jpg

ZIMBABWE lacks political will to effectively tackle corruption with between 30% and 50% of the gross domestic product (GDP) being gobbled up by graft, especially from public sector, corruption watchdog Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) says.

BY MELODY CHIKONO

The revelation comes at a time President Emmerson Mnangagwa has created a Special Anti-Corruption Unit in his office, a move which has been described as unconstitutional by legal experts. This is also coming at a time when Mnangagwa’s administration has been involved in shady deals with dodgy investors such as the US$4,2 billion platinum investment agreement with a Cyprus-based company, Karo Resources.

The same group is also involved in a murky chrome deal. Corruption is also rampant in state-owned enterprises, governemnt ministries and the private sector.

Only last week, deputy chief secretary Ray Ndhlukula admitted in court that government violated tender procedures in awarding a multi-million contract to manage Mnangagwa and senior government officials’ trips.

The country scores very badly on governance indices such as the Worldwide Governance Index, Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance and Transparency International’s Corruption index. Zimbabwe scored 22 points out of 100 on the Corruption Perception Index in 2017. The country had the same score in 2016.

TIZ executive director Muchaneta Mundopa told the Zimbabwe Independent that while TIZ acknowledges the stance taken by the president to tackle corruption, the organisation feels the approach is weak and in effective.

“A study conducted by TIZ in 2015 revealed that the country was losing about US$1 billion annually to corruption,” she said.

“Corruption in public procurement only gobbles about 30%-50 % of the GDP. (Examples include the) Beitbridge-Chirundu project, (Hwange Colliery) snow graders scandal and the ZimAirways scandals. These are all millions of dollars lost.”

Mundopa pointed out that there is need to capacitate the already existing anti-corruption agencies and institutions which are constitutionally mandated to fight corruption. She added that the institutions should be strengthened not only in terms of budgetary allocations, but also accorded the latitude to exercise their mandate.

Mundopa said it was worrying that despite the establishment of the anti-corruption courts early this year, the rate at which cases are being prosecuted remains low.

“Hence there is need to have political will in both government and the private sector to provide strong leadership to combat corruption, as well as multi-stakeholder approach to the fight corruption. They truly need to be independent in carrying out their mandate without political interference,” she said.

“At the moment the public does not have faith in these institutions as they believe that they are state captured hence the public outcry over the President’s move to set up the anti-corruption prosecution unit that will directly report to him.”

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