By Alois Vinga
A COTERIE of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers is under-fire for allegedly accepting bribes from National Oil Company (NOIC) top managers in a
finalisation of the latter’s graft report.
Early this year, Zimbabwe Petroleum and Allied Workers Union (ZIPAWU) approached ZACC imploring it to investigate NOIC chief executive officer, Wilfred Matukeni over allegations of maladministration.
The workers’ group also alleged top management at the company was looting fuel, running into millions of litres, through a manipulated temperature checking system, payment of hefty salaries and packages as well as flouting labour rights at the State owned enterprise.
To this end, NOIC subsidiary has since fired an employee, Samuel Hova, who is also president of ZIPAWU under charges which the unionist leader has described as “trumped up” in a bid to punish him for exposing corruption.
The matter has also exposed deep weaknesses in the country’s corruption whistleblower protection system, with experts warning that if combative measures are not taken, there was a high risk of fear among employees to report corruption.
Irked by ZACC’s snail’s pace in resolving the matter, ZIPAWU this week petitioned the corruption watchdog, claiming to have picked details on how one NOIC top officials revealed that he had paid a token to bury the probe.
“Please may you kindly confirm the allegations that the NOIC board member has since bribed the ZACC in silencing and or destroying the case reported by ZIPAWU on the dates May 3, 2022, May 17, 2022 and August 4, 2022.
“We have learnt that one Wilson Manase told NOIC and PetroZim workers during the meetings held between the 23rd and 25th August 2022 that ZACC will no longer do anything on the matter. He is even said to have further issued a dismissal threat to any worker who reports what happens in the company,” ZIPAWU acting secretary general, Panganai Chiota, said in a letter to ZACC.
The union official also demanded to know whether the claims by Manase were contributing to the current delays in finalising the report by ZACC.
However, contacted for comment, ZACC spokesperson, John Makamure professed ignorance over the petition.
“I am not aware of the complaint or any bribery of ZACC officials,” he said.