HARARE: The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), an independent commission created to combat corruption and crime, said it was handling more than 1,000 cases as it intensifies its war against corruption.
ZACC Chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo told Xinhua that more than 300 cases had been handed over for prosecution between 2019 and 2021, and the commission has come up with various strategies aimed not only at prosecuting offenders, but also ensuring that corruption did not take place.
“When we were constituted as a commission in 2019, corruption was so endemic in Zimbabwe that it had become a culture, almost a way of life for all Zimbabweans and institutionalized,” she said.
Matanda-Moyo said corruption cut across different classes of society, from ordinary bus drivers to shop-floor workers and top government and company officials.
“From the statistics of cases reported to the commission in 2021, 711 cases were reported against public officials, representing 59 percent of the total complaints received…” she said.
Transparency International Zimbabwe, the local chapter of international corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI), convened an anti-corruption conference in May 2022 which found that bribery was rampant in the country and existed within most public institutions.
It said corruption had permeated both public and private spheres affecting economic performance of the country and limiting the full enjoyment of human rights by citizens.
According to TI’s Corruption Perception Index, Zimbabwe scored a lowly 23 out of 100 against the regional average of 34 out of 100.
She added that ZACC had worked out a five-year plan involving three strategic programs: investigations for prosecution; investigations for asset recovery; and prevention of corruption.
“Under prevention of corruption, the commission conducts compliance checks and systems reviews in both public and private sectors to ensure that systems and controls that ensure good corporate practices are put in the organizations.”
ZACC was also ensuring the implementation of policies which enhanced transparency, honesty, integrity, and financial discipline and that recommendations from the Auditor-General’s Office were implemented.
“ZACC is also encouraging the introduction of technology to limit human interface, ultimately minimizing the solicitation of bribes,” she said.
The third strategy was public education, which made the public aware of the dangers of corruption and how to resist and report the crime.
In terms of its collaboration strategy, ZACC is a member of the Globe Network and SADC Anti-Corruption Committee and other similar bodies where they collaborate in terms of information sharing and capacity building.
ZACC has also received training in cyber security training under the SADC pilot training program and has signed memoranda of understanding with other agencies in the region in a bid to improve its capacity to conduct complex investigations.