Mthuli promises funding for anti-corruption bodies in 2021 budget

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By Leopold Munhende

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has promised enough funding for anti-graft bodies such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) in his 2021 budget.

He said this while giving a brief of his ministry’s Pre-Budget Paper during Tuesday’s post-cabinet media briefing in Harare.

Poor funding of ZACC and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) has resulted in accusations some of the institutions’ investigating officers were being bribed to turn a blind eye particularly in cases concerning the running of councils and senior public offices.

The Pre-Budget Paper is set to be presented to parliament, public and captains of industry for consideration ahead of intensive 2021 budget consultations.

“This tool basically is just to engage you, the public and parliament in terms of what we need to put in our budget for 2021 so that it truly becomes a budget that will stimulate growth and drive development of our country.

“The typical flow of the document goes through just to affirm how the 2021 budget fits into the roadmap towards Vision 2030, just to show that it is grounded on that roadmap.

“We then turn to effective institutional building and governance.

“Here we are looking at property rights, aligning laws to the constitution, strengthening our social construct, processes and procedures, rebuilding our state-owned enterprises, dealing with corruption and capacitating the institutions that are dealing with corruption.”

Early this year, ZACC spokesperson John Makamure told delegates at a Transparency International (TIZ) Corruption Index report launch the institution had to be properly funded for it to be very effective.

He proposed a share of proceeds recovered by the commission so as to oil their operations.

“The fiscus will never be able to fund this anti-corruption fight. We all know that it’s not possible at the moment,” Makamure said.

“We are cognisant of the budgetary limitations. We are making proposals for retention of a percentage of assets recovery so that we are able to capacitate ZACC,” said Makamure.

Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda last year suggested parliamentarians should push for the commission to be funded from the country’s Consolidated Fund.

Zimbabwe, which loses an average US$1 billion annually to corruption, is ranked among the worst countries in the world in terms of graft.

Ncube’s paper is centred on seven pillars set to build on his Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).

It focuses on optimising value of the country’s natural resources, supporting infrastructural development, engagement and re-engagement, inclusive macro stability and supporting the productive value chain.